ISO 9001 & UKAS Registered, Electron Beam Services in the United Kingdom ISO 9001 & UKAS Registered, Electron Beam Services in the United Kingdom

Drilling geothermal wells is challenging and often not cost effective. A team of researchers at the University of Oklahoma in the US is currently developing smart lost circulation materials to help make geothermal drilling less expensive. reported on their research, explaining that they’re focusing on the development of shape memory polymers, which are activated by geothermal temperature. The aim of using them is to prevent fluid escaping from the fractured rock around the wellbore.

Speaking to the news provider, Saeed Salehi, project principal investigator and professor of petroleum and geological engineering at the university, commented: “The shape polymers under development for this project are novel expandable and programmable polymers that activate when drilling a high-temperature geothermal drilling operations.”

He added that the current cost of geothermal drilling is “prohibitive” without new technologies such as these polymers being developed.

This is also just the first phase of the project. After investigating lost circulation prevention methods and smart wellbore strengthening materials, the team will move onto phase two. This will focus on flow loop tests of the materials they develop.

The final phase will involve running computational models to find the best combination of techniques, material sizes and concentration to be used in real wells.

A recent post for Think Geoenergy explained that drilling fluids are a “critical component” of drilling operations because they help maintain the stability of the wellbore, they provide pressure, and they allow drilling tools and the downhole environment to cool.

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The government has shown its support for growing aerospace companies by launching a research and development (R&D) fund for the industry to the value of £24 million.

This will go towards the Open Collaborative R&D competition, with up to £12 million of this finance coming directly from the government and a further £12 million from the industry.

This programme is aimed at helping small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to prosper, by encouraging businesses with high-risk, high-impact, revolutionary projects to submit a bid.

Business minister Andrew Stephenson said: “Innovation and R&D are crucial for the UK aerospace sector.”

He added: “Through our Industrial Strategy, we are ensuring the UK remains a world-leader by boosting R&D activity, developing new technology and increasing the UK’s share of the growing aerospace market.”

The competition will launch in October 2019, but SMEs that are interested in submitting their projects that “demonstrate future-thinking revolutionary and disruptive solutions to UK aerospace challenges” have been advised to get in touch with the Aerospace Technology Institute to discuss how to prepare their bids.

In addition to this, Mr Stephenson launched the new round of the National Aerospace Technology Exploitation Programme (NATEP 3). This is designed to support SMEs in the development of innovative technology for the industry; this may include virtual reality training for cabin crew and 3D aerospace structures to make aircraft lighter.

While this investment is encouraging for those aerospace businesses that are up-and-coming, firms that are already established are likely to be preparing for several potential Brexit outcomes when the country leaves the European Union on October 31st.

Earlier this year, the Guardian reported how airlines have been stockpiling parts in the event of a no-deal exit.

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If you require our electron beam services for innovative work within the aerospace industry, then news that the government is looking to fund work that will strengthen the UK's standing in the field.

According to Aerospace-Technology, the UK government is launching a new competition, through the channels of Innovate UK and UK Research and Innovation (UKRI), for companies to come to them with innovative ideas that will keep the country relevant and part of the conversation when it comes to aerospace advances.

The competition, which will take place between the 1st July and 24th July, is aimed at 'emerging markets', and Innovate UK and the UKRI are looking for expressions of interest to participate to claim some of the £150 million bounty. According to a spokesperson, “The competition is intended to seek expressions of interest in funding for industrial research or capital investment projects in the aerospace sector”, however it has also been expressed that the projects should have the potential to be applied to the civil aerospace sector.

They also outlined that UK businesses, research and technology groups, as well as academic organisations such as universities, could lead bids for the fund, depending on its application in the industry. The bids should also align with Aerospace Technology Strategy, and key areas highlighted include smart, connected aircrafts, future-proofing systems and any innovations which can help to strengthen whole aircraft design and production in the UK.

This investment is a part of a larger £3.9 billion fund from the UK Aerospace Research and Technology (UKART) programme.
Eni has announced a new discovery off the shore of Angola, with the well potentially containing up to 250 Mmbbl of light oil.

The Ndungu-1 NFW well, in Block 15/06, has been drilled by the Poseidon drillship just a few kilometres away from Eni’s West Hub site.

According to a report in World Oil, the drill reached a water depth of 1,076 m, achieving a total depth of 4,050 m.

It is thought the well could have a production capacity of as much as – or more than – 10,000 barrels of oil per day.

Ndungu represents the first important oil discovery near the coast of Angola that is inside a Development Area.

As it is just 1.24 miles from the Mpungu field, production could occur at a faster rate as it is already close to the Sub Sea production system. This will allow the oil to be routed to the N’goma FPSO, which would extend the company’s current West Hub plateau.

The Block 15/06 project is a joint venture between Eni, Sonangol P&P, and SSI Fifteen Limited. Its exploration was re-launched in the middle of last year, and Ndungu is the fourth commercial find since then.

Prior to Ngungu, Kalimba, Afoxe and Agogo were discovered over the last year. It is thought they provide a combined production of 1.4 billion barrels of light oil.

This comes after Uganda’s energy and mineral development minster Irene Muloni revealed the government will enable companies to bid for oil exploration licences on seven new exploration blocks on the Albertine Graben site, All Africa reported.

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Element Materials Technology has announced it will invest in more immersion ultrasonic testing (IUT) for aerospace equipment in Mexico.

It currently already offers IUT services elsewhere across the world, including in Houston, Texas; Hartford, Connecticut; Rancho Dominguez, California; and Sheffield, England.

However, there has been demand for it in Monterrey in Mexico too, which is why the technology company is planning to expand its offering south of the US border, reported Aero-Mag.

As a result, it will become the only Nadcap and GE approved independent materials testing laboratory in Central and South America to provide IUT services for the aerospace industry.

Executive vice president for aerospace at Element Materials Technology Rick Sluiters told the news provider the company’s IUT offering is something “customers across North America and Europe value highly”.

This has led to a demand for the services in Mexico, which is why Element has decided to invest in the area so it can meet clients’ needs.

“We are committed to maintaining a high level of service, as well as our technical proficiencies and our improved capacity will allow us to maintain the turnaround our customers expect,” Mr Sluiters stated.

More than 3,000 people work for Element Materials Technology, whether they are technicians, engineers or scientists, dedicating their knowledge and experience to commercial and military aerospace testing.

It prides itself on being the “largest, independent provider of materials testing, product qualification testing, calibration and advisory services to the global aerospace testing sector”.

The company has more than 100 years’ experience, enabling it to offer a range of testing services for varying components, products, materials and systems regarding aerospace technology.

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The Uganda government has announced it will allow companies to bid for oil exploration licences next month.

Energy and mineral development minister Irene Muloni gave the news at a press conference last week, revealing seven new exploration blocks will open for bidding for the Albertine Graben site, All Africa reported.

Bidding will commence during the second week of May, so that it occurs at the same time as the East African Community Petroleum Conference, which is being held in Kenya’s Mombasa.

This is the second round of bidding for oil exploration deals, with the government having already signed deals with Armour Energy from Australia and Oranto Petroleum from Nigeria for more than Shs7 billion (£1.43 billion).

The first round of bidding unlocked six billion barrels of oil from the country’s capacity. However, Ms Muloni revealed new locations have been encountered.

“We have so far allocated ten per cent of the Graven to the existing firms. From the remaining 90 per cent of the Graben, we have picked data and it is this data that has helped us with the forming of these new blocks,” she stated.

It is thought the new area will cover both onshore and offshore sites covering 1,200 kilometres of oil exploration.

Uganda is not the only promising location for oil discovery, and Alaska’s North Slope is so rich in the fuel, there could be a significant rise in exploration in this region in the coming years.

Peninsula Clarion recently reported state officials as saying oil and rig activity in the area could reach a 20-year high in 2019.

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Equinor has announced that there has been a further delay to its Mariner oil project in the North Sea.

The Norwegian oil firm revealed that it is now not expecting to start producing oil through its flagship project until the second half of this year, having initially expected to start production towards the end of 2018.

Energy Voice explained that the reason for the delay was due to problems with the electrical equipment aboard the platform, which was built specifically for the project.

Vice president of projects at the firm Morten Ruth told the news provider that a “high failure rate” was uncovered in the platform’s electrical couplings during testing last year. To ensure there are no safety issues, the company is testing all 40,000 electrical couplings on the rig.

This process began in January, with Mr Ruth noting that they are now over halfway through the task.

He declined to offer any suggestions as to what had caused the problems, saying only that the company was involved in discussions with suppliers and contractors about where the liability lies.

“The important thing now is to show we have control of this issue. We need it under proper control before we start up,” Mr Ruth asserted.

The North Sea field, which is located to the east of Shetland, is predicted to produce 300 million barrels of oil when it comes online.

Petroleum Economist recently reported that oil firms are being urged to look again at areas in the North Sea that were previously dismissed as not holding oil reserves after new analysis of seismic data indicated there could be undiscovered reserves in these areas.

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Aerospace designers should start thinking of their next big project, as they could be in with a chance to win up to £150 million a year to get their product off the ground.

The government has announced the competition, which is part of the UK Aerospace Research and Technology (UKART) programme worth £3.9 billion.

This initiative has been set up by the government and those in the industry, and is managed by Innovate UK, the Aerospace Technology Institute and the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.

In order to maintain Britain’s position as having one of the best aerospace industries in the world, it has launched this competition to encourage businesses to come up with exciting new designs.

“Organisations are invited to express an interest in a competition worth £150 million a year with their innovative ideas for future aerospace design and manufacture. The best projects will then be invited to apply for grant funding,” a government spokesperson said.

The contest begins today (March 18th) and will run until February 11th 2020, with any UK-based business, academic organisation, research or technology group encouraged to put forward their ideas.

If they are successful, they could be given up to 70 per cent of the costs for projects that are researched based, or half of the expenses of capital investment initiatives.

Applicants are encouraged to submit designs aimed at improving Britain’s aircraft design and system integration; future-proofing technologies in the UK, including smart and electric aircrafts; helping the country become a world leader in large aviation structures; and developing propulsion technologies that are more efficient.

This comes after the Guardian reported how aerospace firms are preparing for a ‘no deal Brexit’ by stockpiling millions of pounds worth of parts.

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Businesses in all industries are preparing for the possibility of a no-deal Brexit, as politicians continue to argue over the best way to leave the EU.

One sector that’s been make particular provisions is aerospace and defence, with the Guardian recently outlining exactly what companies in this area have been doing to prepare.

The news provider pointed out that a no-deal Brexit will add millions of pounds in costs to many firms, and as a result mitigating these is a top priority.

In June last year, for instance, Airbus revealed it would need to stockpile €1 billion-worth of parts, as well as stating that any delays caused to production as a result of a no-deal Brexit could run to €1 billion per week.

Rolls Royce, Bombardier Aerospace and Meggitt have all also announced that they are building up a stockpile of parts and/or raw materials to help prevent supply issues should the UK exit without a deal.

A number of firms in the UK have also applied to switch their regulatory approval to the EU, to help protect them in the event of a no-deal Brexit.

Those operating in defence, rather than commercial aerospace, appear to be better insulated from Brexit-related shocks, the newspaper noted, because many sell parts that fall outside of tariffs.

Earlier this month, Airbus UK vice CEO Katherine Bennett told the Andrew Marr show that a no-deal Brexit would be “absolutely catastrophic” for the firm which employs 14,000 people in the UK.

The New European reported on her comments, where she also said that the company would have to make “difficult decisions” if the UK walks away from the EU with no deal in place.

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There could be a new medical technology centre in Nottingham if plans are given the go ahead.

Earlier this week, Nottingham Trent University (NTU) submitted proposals for a new £8 million scheme on the Boots Enterprise Zone, as part of its Medical Technologies Innovation Facility (MTIF).

This will help medical product developments advance, bringing new technologies to market at a much faster rate, and improving patient care across the UK.

Professor Edward Peck, the university’s vice-chancellor, said: “Medical technology is one of the real strengths of the local economy, one of the real strengths of Nottingham Trent University, and a major priority for the Midlands Engine, so this is both a timely and exciting development.”

Broxtowe Borough Council has to approve the proposals before work can go ahead, but building could begin as early as this summer if the plans are approved, with the facility expected to open a year later.

The site will offer more laboratories, as well as technologies and expertise for processing, developing prototypes and getting products ready for manufacturing.

The MTIF project has already been provided with a £9.7 million investment from the D2N2 Local Enterprise Partnership, as part of the Local Growth Fund, with the intention being that the site will encourage networking and support between organisations and their researchers.

The region could become an influential centre of healthcare developments, as medical technology companies in the East Midlands have recently been told they are eligible to apply for finance.

Medical Technology Trial (MTT) grants are available to businesses in Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire as part of Medilink East Midlands, Medical Plastics News revealed recently.

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There could be advancement in medical technology companies in the East Midlands, after it was revealed they are eligible to apply for some finance towards their clinical evaluation costs.

Medilink East Midlands is offering Medical Technology Trial (MTT) grants to businesses in Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire that have to test their products or services in a clinical setting, reported Medical Plastics News.

These will be delivered by the Inspiring Networking To Stimulate Technology Innovation in Life Sciences (INSTILS) project, which is part funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF). This offers free support to life science companies in the East Midlands.

The East Midlands Academic Health Science Network (EMAHSN) is also helping to finance the initiative, while The University of Nottingham and Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust are helping to deliver the project too.

Chief executive of Medilink East Midlands Darren Clark stated gathering evidence is “paramount” for medical technology businesses that want to sell their products and services to the healthcare industry.

“By making this support available, we’re helping companies to overcome obstacles on the road to getting their products and services out to as wide a market as possible,” Mr Clark said.

Businesses in the region that initiate within the INSTILS programme will be offered help and advice from life science specialists, the NHS, and universities. They will also receive finance for clinical evaluations, as well as money towards developments and networking events to help get their products on to the market.

It is important medical technology is given the investment it needs to continue to develop, as it offers many benefits to patients. These include virtual appointments, machines that provide analysis to help specialists understand medical problems, and better sharing of patient records among healthcare professionals.

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The North Slope in Alaska was once described as a ‘super basin’ for oil, which is why there could be a huge increase in oil exploration in this region within the next few years.

Peninsula Clarion reported that oil exploration and rig activity could be the highest it has been in 20 years in 2019, according to state officials.

Department of Natural Resources’ (DNR) deputy commission Sara Longan was one of the officials who spoke to the Alaska Senate Finance Committee last week about the future of the Alaskan oil industry.

Ms Longan was quoted by the publication as saying: “The classification of the North Slope as a super basin is a pretty big darn deal.”

She went on to say: “There’s so much undiscovered potential in Cook Inlet also, that industry’s going to keep looking at Alaska to invest money.”

While DNR has been optimistic about the increase in oil output from the North Slope, Graham Smith, permitting section manager for the Division of Oil and Gas told the publication that figures could be even higher than expected.

He noted there might be over 20 oilrigs in the North Slope and Cook Inlet in 2019, which is five more than the DNR was aiming for.

This comes after research firm IHS Markit said the North Slope in Alaska was a ‘super basin’ for crude oil, and crude oil output could even rise by 40 per cent before 2027.

ExxonMobil currently digs for oil in the Alaskan North Slope, with production having begun here in 1977. It markets around 110kBd of crude oil from this region, mostly to those on the west coast of America.

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Technology is advancing at an unprecedented speed in every industry, including the world of medicine. While medical research and educated physicians will always be pivotal in improving healthcare services for patients, there is a growing need for technological advancements in this field too.

Here are just some benefits of medical technology for patient care.
  1. Deep learning machines
These machines are designed to provide analysis to assist specialists in their understanding of a medical problem. For instance, they are becoming increasingly popular in radiology, being able to interpret images quickly and efficiently.

According to CIO Applications, they might also be able to spot things that the human eye cannot detect, helping doctors in the diagnosis of medical conditions that might, otherwise, be very difficult to determine.
  1. Sharing patients’ records
Another way technology will play an important part in NHS healthcare this year is through the introduction of systems that allow both GPs and hospital staff to access medical information about patients instantly.

NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde has just implemented the system, thanks to Orion Health Medicines, that enables doctors across 11 sites to find out about what medications patients are on when they are admitted, and what prescription changes other physicians have made and why.
  1. Virtual appointments
While all of us are used to seeing our doctor face to face, this is all set to change, with virtual appointments to become the norm in 2019.

In an attempt to reduce waiting times, the NHS has introduced an app that allows GPs to call you for your appointment. Patients can show their symptoms via camera, if necessary, helping GPs make diagnoses over the phone.

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Google is trying to make a name for itself in the medical technology sector by developing artificial intelligence (AI) that can screen for eye disease for people in Thailand.

Its pilot programme will be undertaken in conjunction with the Rajavithi Hospital to provide screenings to help detect diabetic retinopathy for those who would otherwise not have access to eye tests, in an attempt to avoid permanent blindness in those who suffer from the condition.

The company wrote in its blog post: “Deploying this technology in underserved communities that don’t have enough eye specialists could be life-changing for many.”

It was added that the technology giant wanted to “make the benefits of AI available to everyone”, and has previously used this AI initiative, which looks at medical images of the back of the eye to detect signs of diabetic retinopathy, in clinics in India.

Google also rolled out this project in the US along with Moorfields Eye Hospital, accurately detecting 50 cases of eye disorders.

This process was used instead of optical coherence tomography 3D scans, which are not only hard to determine the results but require experts to do so, Medical Device Network reported.

In comparison, Google’s AI system can ascertain characteristics in mere seconds, allowing sufferers to get urgent care without delay, which could save their sight in the long run.

It stated the accuracy of AI is “on par with human retinal specialists”, allowing a greater number of patients to be screened in the same amount of time.

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