About the BP Institute

The University of Cambridge BP Institute was established in 2000 by a generous endowment from BP, which has funded faculty positions, support staff and the Institute Building, in perpetuity. The Institute research focuses on fundamental problems in multiphase flow and is highly interdisciplinary, spanning six University Departments.

Flow in Porous Rocks by Prof A Woods

Flow in Porous Rocks

Focusing on simplified models of physical flow processes, this book develops a series of quantitative models to describe the recovery of oil and gas from hydrocarbon reservoirs (including fracking), the physics of geo-sequestration of CO2, geothermal power production, and the potential for underground contaminant dispersal in the long-term storage of nuclear waste. The author approaches these problems by developing simplified mathematical models and identifying the key dimensionless variables that control the processes.

Encapsulation of microbes in colloidosomes

We have developed a technique to encapsulate microbes such as yeast and bacteria. This technique avoids many of the problems of other encapsulation methods; harsh chemicals, high temperatures or long and complex processes. The capsules, called colloidosomes, are manufactured by a simple method of emulsifying an aqueous phase within an oil phase. The aqueous phase contains the microbes and polymer particles, which move to the surface of the water droplets and aggregate to compose the microcapsule shell.

Investigating Biomineralisation of Shells using Neutron Reflection

Biomineralisation is the process by which organisms produce inorganic minerals in order to strengthen and protect the organic tissues. Examples include bones, eggshells, coral, marine mollusc shells and teeth.

The production of biomolecules such as sugars and proteins during biomineralisation directs the shape and structure of the organism’s shell. Depending on the structure of the biomolecule, beautiful and complex shapes can be formed from one single crystal.

Using seismic data to monitor CO2 injection into aquifers


Carbon Dioxide (CO2) has been injected into aquifers in several locations in the world. In order to predict the movement of CO2 in an aquifer, we need to know the permeability of the porous rocks, which gives a measure of how easy it is to flow.

In this paper, we have investigated the use of seismic data to estimate the permeability of the rock. In a single layer of rock, there are two possible permeability values which can fit the same noisy seismic data. The same analysis can be extended to a multi layered system, e.g. Sleipner in the North Sea.

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