2018 Winner: Outstanding Science and Technology Start-Up
Combined technology leads to better drilling decisions
Enersoft’s core business is the complete and cost-effective analysis of geological samples at the elemental, molecular and structural level, and the integration of that data with other geoscience data for a complete geological analysis. Enersoft’s technology results in faster speed and reduced costs, enabling continuous core sample analysis at high resolutions in the energy and mining industries.
What problem did you see a need to solve and how did you solve this real-world problem?
Grant Sanden, co-founder and CEO of Enersoft Inc.: For modern unconventional resource plays, the scale of geological importance has moved to the sub-cm level which cannot be effectively analyzed using conventional physical and chemical lab tests. We’re using robotized machine vision as a key component for the high resolution analysis of rocks in mining and oil and gas.
One of the key innovations is we’ve collocated a ton of different instruments to look at reservoir complexity. We have x-rays to analyze elements, spectroscopy to analyze bonds, high-resolution cameras and confocal lasers to look at the particles, their shape, their size and their sorting. Once you take all those meaningful degrees of freedom and put them together at high resolution, you can do very advanced analytics on the reservoir.
What has been the impact?
For our clients, it leads to better drilling and completion decisions, ultimately leading to a more efficient resource recovery and a lower environmental impact. It also converts the workflows from low resolution subjective analysis with a lot of guesswork to machine vision big data problems where you can apply artificial intelligence.
One of the keys is we’re fast to fail so we try things out. We have the equipment to manufacture our own parts to robotize all sorts of instruments, so we can we try them out quickly and cheaply and see what works. When you do this you can quickly build knowledge until you have quite a suite of products that solve market problems. Then you jump on the ones that have the most traction.
Has being in Alberta helped you find success?
Alberta is a great place to innovate. The talent that’s available in a city like Calgary is impressive. Government support via the SR&ED program, Alberta Innovates, and NRC-IRAP are exceptional for small companies and start-ups.
Who have been your major supporters?
It’s mostly been our major clients. They’ve co-developed technologies with us and we‘ve applied them into oil sands. Now, we’re moving into other reservoirs and it’s really our client base and some of the key science people within those companies who have really helped us out.
What are the plans for the future?
We’re looking at some opportunities to work internationally. We’re just starting out and we’ve just secured a whole new level of executive. We’ve got an experienced CFO involved, we’ve got an equity line, and now we’ve got the money and cash behind us to do high-end science on rocks. It’s really working out well.
How does it feel to be an ASTech Finalist?
Oh, it’s just fantastic. It’s a real privilege and it’s nice to get those letters of support from our clients. So that’s a real positive for us.