Bringing fibre optic sensing technology to Australian resources

Fibre optic technology
Fibre optic technology. Image: Canva

A Curtin University research team will work to bring leading broadband fibre optic acoustic sensing technology to the Australian oil and gas, mining and environmental monitoring industries, offering a more cost-effective and safer resource extraction process.

The project will seek to produce a suite of passive and active geophysical data acquisition and analysis techniques based on broadband fibre optic sensing that aim to significantly reduce the cost of geophysical characterisation of the subsurface and develop a safer resource extraction process.

The team is led by Professor Roman Pevzner from Curtin’s WA School of Mines: Minerals, Energy and Chemical Engineering. The team, as part of the Federal Government’s Global Innovation Linkages Program will include international collaborators to test the viability of the technology in the Australian landscape.

The Professor notes that the project would develop technologies that will use ambient seismic energy and physical phenomena, including remote earthquakes and human activity, through laboratory and field studies. 

Our Curtin team has developed, patented and commercialised a forced-oscillation stress-strain method  and equipment for measuring different properties of rocks at seismic and sub-seismic frequencies.

As part of this new project, we will integrate fibre optic sensing technology into our apparatus with the  ultimate aim of delivering cost-saving and safer resource extraction processes to Australia’s critically  important resources sector.

Professor Roman Pevzner
Invention in the flesh. Image: Curtin University

Curtin University Deputy Vice-Chancellor Research Professor Chris Moran believes that the Curtin research project will “ensure Australia was not left behind by the latest global advances in fibre optic acoustic sensing technology”.

Despite Australia’s leading role in the deployment and application of fibre optic sensing for research, the  current uptake of this technology in the Australian industry lags behind world leaders such as the United  States of America and the United Kingdom.

Demonstrating the benefits of fibre optic technology in Australian conditions in cooperation with our major oil and gas producers will help accelerate the uptake of this technology in the sector, as well as the  wider mining and environmental monitoring industries.

Professor Chris Moran, Curtin University Vice-Chancellor Research

As part of the project, Curtin will work with companies like CSIRO, and Woodside and global leaders in seismology and fibre optic sensing in the application to geosciences such as Lawrence Berkley National Laboratory and Silixa Ltd.

About the Global Innovation Linkages Program

The Federal Government’s Global Innovation Linkages Program provides funding to help Australian businesses and researchers collaborate with global partners to support strategically focused, leading edge research and development in priority areas.  

To apply for the grant, one’s project must be an Australian organisation collaborating with another Australian entity and at least one global partner, and lie in at least one of the six categories outlined:

  • Advanced manufacturing.
  • Food and agribusiness.
  • Medical technologies and pharmaceuticals.
  • Mining equipment, technology and services.
  • Oil, gas and energy resources.
  • Cyber security.

For more information about the program, click here.

Disclosure: Curtin University is a sponsor of Startup News.