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Energy Transitions Research at the University of Cambridge

Cambridge spin-out secures $3m to improve oil recovery efficiency

Silicon MicroGravity (SMG), a newly-formed University of Cambridge spin-out that has developed a novel sensor technology used by oil companies to enhance oil recovery, has received initial funding of $3 million from Imperial Innovations Group plc (AIM: IVO, 'Innovations') and Cambridge Enterprise, the commercialisation arm of the University of Cambridge, together with grant funding from the UK government. SMG's sensors, developed in partnership with BP, are sensitive enough to measure one billionth the level of Earth's gravity and are small and robust enough to be sent deep into boreholes to distinguish oil from water. A team of Cambridge scientists, led by Dr Ashwin Seshia of the Department of Engineering and Energy@Cambridge member, has been working closely with BP to develop the sensors. A successful test of the technology was conducted in 2012 prompting BP to fund a follow-on project to address further optimisation and pursue large-scale manufacture of the sensors.


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