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Company Case Studies


Quantum Sensing of Greenhouse Gas Leaks
Quantum Sensing of Greenhouse Gas Leaks

Xiao Ai,
CTO & Cofounder,
QTEC Cohort 1 - 2016-2017


QLM works with established industry supply and service companies to deliver new methods to monitor and quantify fugitive greenhouse gas emissions such as Methane and CO2. Customer field trials have been done in partnership with the National Physical Laboratory (NPL) and TOTAL.

QLM’s platform technology offers customers: cost reduction with integrated design using mature telecom packaging. Provide control, safety and process optimization imagers for various species of gases across the industry. Their small sensor is capable of continuous drone-mounted surveys over all extended plants and pipelines, also provide handheld imagers for field-staff. All connected into continuous and fully automatic monitoring and response systems that measure, quantify and manage all gas emissions.

Why I invested in


“Exciting science attracts investors but getting the resulting products to market is the greater challenge. That’s why we invested in Xiao. He is a compelling and passionate expert in his field but is also practical and open-minded about how to evolve the business. QLM’s social mission to reduce the leakage of CO2 and methane is matched by a global demand for these services.”

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“I was trying to develop a business. QTEC introduced me to the right language and taught me to ask the right questions. I quickly started to structure how I thought about a problem.”

The Founder's Journey

Xiao completed his PhD at Bristol University and became a senior research associate developing hydrocarbon remote-sensing using quantum-inspired technology. Ultimately, the component technology was not considered sufficiently mature to pursue the target field of use – space. However, a member of the project team from the German Space Agency suggested that he looked at Oil and Gas as an alternative market sector.

Xiao had maintained regular contact with his PhD supervisor, Prof John Rarity, who were aware that QTEC was looking for applications for the first intake of Fellows. “I applied, but my initial idea is very immature,” admitted Xiao. “Although my career had been in research, I always liked the practical stuff. I like to solve problems. So I applied.”

At the end of the programme, Xiao had a improved business case and was able to raise pre-seed funding and obtain his first Innovate UK grant, attracted a experienced board and a CEO.

Since then, progress has been good. QLM is now a team of 8 part- and full-time people and has recently closed a seed round for their industrialisation stage. The company has also generated revenues from Non-recurring engineer projects with customers and they predict that the company will be self sustaining in 2 years, once its core products mature.
“I do what I love. It’s all learning and I like learning.

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The Quantum Technology Enterprise Centre was an EPSRC funded Skills and Training Hub based out of the University of Bristol which is part of the UK's National Quantum Technology Programme and based out of:

QTIC, 1 Cathedral Square, Trinity Street, College Green, Bristol BS1 5DD

The programme was moved into SETsquared Bristol in July 2022.

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