Seismos, a student-led startup company, aims to boost the efficiency of enhanced oil recovery by combining the power of carbon dioxide and sound waves to release oil trapped underground. 

The company was started by electrical engineering senior Omar Hernandez and Panos Adamopoulos, Stevan Slusher and Devin Bedwell, graduate students enrolled in the Master of Science in Technology Commercialization Program at UT. The program focuses on identifying of new technologies and assessing their market potential. 

“Seismos began as part of the program we’re in,” Bedwell, the team leader, said. “The first semester one of our assignments was to find four different technologies, then do market assessments on them. This is one of the ones we found.”

Seismos recently won first prize at the Texas Venture Labs Investment Competition, taking home $135,000 toward the its development. 

The company also received backing from the Austin Technology Incubator, a branch of the University’s IC2 Institute, which promotes economic development in Central Texas through entrepreneurial wealth and job creation, and a teaching laboratory in applied entrepreneurship for University students. 

“The ATI is your on-campus resource for starting a [technology-based] company,” said Kyle Cox, director of IT/Wireless and Development Portfolios for the incubator. “We go through a rigorous due diligence progress in working with a potential startup. We assess their viability and opportunity in the market and try to work to see if we can help add value to the company. ”

Cox said Seismos was a perfect fit for the incubator, citing the company’s potential for profit and innovation within a $4 trillion industry.

“What their technology can impact as far as enhanced oil recovery is tremendous,” Cox said, “Seismos has a massive opportunity. They have a few things left to figure out and we hope to be able to provide them the resources to do so, whether it be access to our mentors and advisers, venture capitalists that will help them get going, or access to potential customers.”

Adamopolous said the team plans to continue developing the company after graduation. 

“The future looks bright as long as you can deliver what you promise,” Adamopolous said. “We can’t say that we’re finished. We have a long way to go, but we’re on the right track.”

The Seismos team is currently preparing to compete in the business plan competition circuit, with initial stops at Rice, University of California-Berkeley and Tulane University. 

“We’re going to those competitions to meet more investors and get more feedback on the business plan,” Bedwell said, “Hopefully we’ll win some feed money to continue the project. We’re in the early stages right now, but I think [Seismos] is something that would work, so we’re working to develop it after we graduate.”

Published on February 18, 2013 as "Student startup hopes to improve oil recovery".