Strathclyde Spinout Synaptec senses growth opportunities with £370K investment
Spinout company Synaptec has secured funding from one of Scotland’s leading angel syndicates to help it break into the renewable energy and subsea markets.
The company, 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 the Equity Gap business angel syndicate, Scottish Investment Bank, the investment arm of Scottish Enterprise, and Strathclyde.
Synatec already works with clients including SSE and Scottish Power and this funding will help to grow its team, ramp up operations and broaden the scope of the business. This is the company's first round of investment.
Founded in 2014, Synpatec is a spinout from the Department's Institute for Energy & Environment. It develops and deploys unique 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. Stuart Mackenzie, Commercialisation Infrastructure Manager at Strathclyde’s Research & Knowledge Exchange Services, said: “We are pleased to have played a part in the evolution of Synaptec, from hosting Philip Orr as Scotland’s first Royal Academy of Engineering Enterprise Fellow, to the formation of the company and now in the latest addition to Strathclyde’s portfolio of spin-out investments. Synaptec’s team and their business proposal are highly impressive. We look forward to collaborating with the company to maximise the benefits it will bring to power network operators.”
Dr Philip Orr, Managing Director and Co-Founder of 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. Our technology and approach has the potential to deliver similar performance improvements for other markets including renewables and subsea systems. The investment from Equity Gap, the Scottish Investment Bank and the University will help us to capitalise on these opportunities and we have already hired a new member of staff to broaden our capabilities.”
Funding awarded for project to optimise membrane performance
Dr Alison Cleary, Dr Christos Tachtatzis, Professor Ivan Andonovic, Dr Robert Atkinson and Dr Craig Michie from the Centre for Intelligent Dynamic Communications (CIDCOM) within the Department were awarded ~£62k from GSK and the Impact Accelerator Account for a project to optimise membrane (filter) performance and maintenance through data analytics.
Production of antibiotics is a complex process with a number of filtration steps, the effectiveness of which affect the final product yield. The project will look at using process monitoring data to assess the optimum times for membrane maintenance or replacement, and also to assess whether changes in the overall production process should yield greater efficiencies. The overall goal of the project is to help GSK to reduce process variability, increase yield and develop a model to further understand linkages between process variables. The project builds on expertise in data analytics and condition monitoring developed through a number of cross-disciplinary projects, most recently the EPSRC and an industry-funded collaborative project with the Centre for Continuous Manufacturing and Crystallisation (CMAC) called ‘Intelligent Decision Support and Control Technologies for Continuous Manufacturing and Crystallisation of Pharmaceuticals and Fine Chemicals (ICT-CMAC)’. Dr Chris McCaig who recently joined the Department, will also be working on this project.
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