A research spin-off technology company enabled by microscopy has been awarded the Rio Tinto Eureka Prize for Commercialisation of Innovation. Digitalcore uses high-resolution 3-D scanning of oil-bearing rocks combined with supercomputing to improve the efficiency of the oil and gas industry.
Digitalcore was formed in 2009 to commercialise technology based on X-ray microtomography and data analysis of rocks. 3-D imaging of porous materials at a microscopic level is combined with software to perform the complex calculations required to interpret the images. This technology enables more effective extraction of hydrocarbons such as oil and natural gas. It is also valuable in understanding efficient sequestration of carbon dioxide. Analysis of reservoir and seal rocks enables assessment of the storage capacity and geological risks of injecting CO2.
Following the 2010 ENI Award for Frontier Technology in the Energy Industry, widely regarded as the ‘Nobel Prize for Energy’, the Eureka award is sure to contribute to continued success for Digitalcore. Microscopy in the AMMRF at the Australian National University (ANU) and at the University of New South Wales (UNSW) enabled the innovation recognised in these awards. Prizes, new patents and a new-generation X-ray microtomography scanner have set Digitalcore on a path of exponential growth as this Australian technology gains acceptance around the world.
The Award-Winning Digitalcore Team:
Dr Victor Pantano, Chief Executive Officer
Prof. Mark Knackstedt, Chief Technology Officer
Prof. Tim Senden and Dr Adrian Sheppard (Research School of Physics & Engineering, ANU)
Prof. Val Pinczewski and A/Prof. Christoph Arns (School of Petroleum Engineering, UNSW)