Scots university spin-out secures £370,000 investment in energy network monitoring tool

A Synaptec sensing system
A Synaptec sensing system

A spin out company from Strathclyde University has secured funding from one of Scotland’s leading angel syndicates to help it break into the renewable energy and subsea markets.

Synaptec, which has developed high performance fibre optic technology to reduce the downtime and operating costs of electrical power networks through improved monitoring, has received £370,000 investment from, among others, the Equity Gap business syndicate – whose angels include Ian Marchant.

Set up in 2014, the Glasgow-based company develops photonic sensing systems that use existing optical fibre network to help electricity network operators determine the health and capacity of their systems. This includes increased monitoring of voltage and current, temperature, strain and dynamic vibration.

Synaptec – whose clients include SSE and Scottish Power – will use this first-round investment to grow its team, ramp up operations and broaden the scope of the business. A new engineer and sales manager will focus on the opportunities within markets including subsea development and renewable energy.

Dr Philip Orr
Dr Philip Orr

Dr Philip Orr, Managing Director, Synaptec, said: “Monitoring, protection and control of power networks is becoming more important than ever thanks to increased global electricity demand and the simultaneous move to greater penetration of distributed renewable energy sources.

“By improving network management through enhanced awareness, we provide multiple benefits to network operators and society including cost reductions, enhanced security of energy supply, and reduced emissions.

“This investment will help us to capitalise on these opportunities and we have already hired a new member of staff to broaden our capabilities.”

Equity Gap’s involvement will also give the team at Synaptec access to the advice and experience of people including Ian Marchant, former chief executive of SSE; Nigel Ellis, renewables consultant and former technology development director of SSE; and Jos Trehern, co-founder and former chief executive of Psymetrix, which is now part of GE.

Synaptec is also involved in a number of research projects with institutions which include the European Marine Energy Centre on Orkney.

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