Sensing - Earth to Atmosphere


Our research is focused on geologically-based investigations of rock properties and their interaction with fluids. Our current and published research builds on interdisciplinary petrophysics-sedimentology studies, is industry and Government funded and includes: investigating shale gas petrophysical models, quantifying reservoir heterogeneity, petroacoustic modelling, understanding low resistivity plays and coal bed methane or coal seam gas, as well as improving how we educate geoscientists in petrophysics. We also provide petrophysical training as well as campus-based and distance learning opportunities for petrophysical research.


Understanding the potential yield and economic viability of shale deposits is of clear importance to operators. Our published research highlights variables which impact on NMHCs released from shale. In addition we have developed chemical assessment methods for the analysis of rock samples to forecast yield/speciation of VOCs from rock. We also provide laboratory-to-field testing for VOC speciation and yield (C1-C15) with the potential to model the lifetime yield and economic viability of deposits.

Instrument Development

Handheld X Ray Diffraction

Within our Space Research Centre we have been working on a collaborative project with Bruker Elemental to develop a handheld mineral analyser for mining applications. The initial target has been iron ore analysis, although clays and other shale gas reservoir indicator phases are also a potential application. Shale phases are relatively untested as yet in the laboratory and this is an area we would be keen to develop with an exploration partner.

Airborne Sensors

The scientific effort behind understanding and monitoring air quality is significant and the University of Leicester is at the forefront of a number of approaches. In collaboration with key industrial partners, we have been advancing the use of airborne instrumentation for mapping gas concentrations over urban environments using scattered sunlight. Specifically, we are developing a new sensor that allows low-cost, larger scale monitoring and mapping of methane emissions from UAVs or small aircraft that will create the opportunity to develop an emission monitoring service for operators of shale gas extraction sites.

Geospatial Technologies


The University of Leicester is a global leader in the novel deployment of satellite-enabled GIS and remote sensing. We are engaged in research using the new generation of European satellites to provide analyses of potential shale gas exploitation impacts on water quality in the aquifer, and hydrocarbon pollution impacts on vegetation and soils. In addition we are examining microseismic events that may be triggered by the hydraulic fracturing process and greenhouse gas emissions to the atmosphere caused by the process.

Remote Sensing

We are researching the use of hyperspectral remote sensing for detecting evidence of hydrocarbons in the Earth’s surface. This reseach may contribute to oil/gas exploration projects, environmental monitoring and gasses detection in shale gas extraction sites.

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To find out how our academics can work with your business please contact:

William Wells
Business Development Manager
07810 658 729