How much or how little you pay to run your car or heat your home could be down to the work of a Harborough firm which has just secured a big European grant.
Ixion, of Harborough Innovation Centre, helps companies develop products, services and processes and has just secured a €2million (£ 1.65m) grant from the European Commission to tackle one of the biggest problems facing the oil industry – the cost of extracting fuel from the earth’s global oil reservoirs.
The firm’s European contracts director John Danvers, who works from the company’s office at the Innovation Centre, said: “At present, approximately only 34 percent of oil reserves are actually recoverable.
“The reason is unwanted water and gas breaks through to the surface and that’s a big problem for the industry, particularly water, because it’s contaminated.
“If you bring water to the surface you have to treat it and clean it before you can dispose of it, and that’s a huge cost.
“In some extreme cases there are certain wells producing 10 times more water than oil.
“That is clearly uneconomical and drives up our oil prices, fuel and energy bills.”
The grant, won by the Ixion team on behalf of a consortium of European companies, will be used to develop an innovative technology that makes it possible to increase the extraction rate of oil from oil reservoirs.
Small Norwegian company InflowControl came up with the autonomous inflow control valve (AICV), and approached Ixion who took care of everything else – including managing the complex red-tape that goes with applying for a grant and the creation of a consortium of research and manufacturing companies.
As a result of winning the project, the world’s largest oil company, Saudi Aramco, has recently bought a 20 per cent share of InflowControl in a major mufti-million Euro deal.
Mr Danvers added: “You could almost describe Ixion as the real life Dragons’ Den.
“Most companies don’t know there’s €70 billion available to help them innovate and we’re one of the most successful companies for winning that funding on behalf of our clients.”