Published 29th February 2016

Innovations leads funding in Silicon MicroGravity

Portfolio company Silicon MicroGravity (SMG), which has developed a novel sensor technology used by oil companies to enhance oil recovery, has secured $3 million in a funding round led by Imperial Innovations, with the partipation of Cambridge Enterprise and 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.

Once the position of water is established and tracked, reservoir engineers can mitigate the potentially damaging results of water reaching a production well. SMG estimates that the technology could improve yields on conventional reservoirs by up to 2 percent, representing significant increases in production and revenues.

The sensors were developed by Dr Ashwin Seshia and his team at the University of Cambridge, who began working closely with BP in 2010. SMG was formed in 2014 to accelerate the development of the product and develop a service that can capture and analyse data on behalf of oil companies. The first field trial in a production well is scheduled for 2017.

Alongside Innovations and Cambridge Enterprise, supporters of the company include the Institution of Mechanical Engineers’ Stephenson Fund, a private investor, InnovateUK and NERC, which have awarded a substantial grant.

Robert Bahns Director Technology Ventures Imperial Innovations said:

“SMG has an outstanding technology developed at Cambridge University that has been significantly de-risked through a longstanding partnership with BP. The company has all the key ingredients in place to demonstrate the commercial value of the technology, and we are very pleased to be able to lead this funding round to take them through this stage and beyond.”

Dr Ashwin Seshia, co-founder of Silicon Microgravity, said:

“The SMG devices advance the frontiers of gravity sensor technology building upon several years of University research and innovation. SMG brings together a leading international team of experts to address the next phase of technology translation and we are looking forward to working collaboratively with our partners to deploy these tools widely.”