Aberdeen's Proserv goes big on wind after taking stake in Glasgow-based Synaptec

Aberdeen controls technology specialist Proserv has snapped up a stake in Glasgow firm Synaptec to accelerate development of advanced tech for major offshore wind projects.

The two firms formed a strategic alliance in October 2020 to drive forward the innovation of disruptive condition-monitoring technologies for the energy sector. Proserv has now acquired a minority stake in Synaptec.

The Glasgow firm was developed as a spin out business from Strathclyde University in 2014 with its management team, board of directors and advisory board comprising former leaders from the power sector, academic professors and energy entrepreneurs.

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A technology consortium led and driven by Proserv, including Synaptec and subsea power cable engineering and consultancy specialist BPP Cable Solutions, with initial support from the Offshore Renewable Energy Catapult (OREC), has collaborated to innovate the cable monitoring system ECG for the offshore wind sector.

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The potential capabilities of ECG, regarding real-time monitoring and predictive insights, saw the technology receive £1 million development funding from Innovate UK in 2021, alongside subsequent industrial sponsorship from ScottishPower Renewables and Equinor.

The advanced tech has been rolled out on phases A and B of the vast Dogger Bank wind farm and it is to be demonstrated on Equinor’s floating Hywind Scotland wind farm later this year.

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Synaptec is one of several technology disruptors and start-ups with whom Proserv has recently forged alliances, including data analytics firm Intelligent Plant in late 2020 and real-time optimisation innovator Ortomation last month.

Proserv’s vice president, renewables, Paul Cook, said: “We have formed a close working relationship with the Synaptec team over the past two years as we have combined our controls and integration expertise, and reputation, with its own unique power system monitoring capabilities, leading to the generation of disruptive new solutions to support the offshore wind space.

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Proserv is a controls technology specialist. Picture: James Bass Photography

“We look forward to further collaboration as we seek to identify more opportunities where we can deploy our know-how right across the energy sector.”

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Synaptec’s chairman, Dave Pratt, said: “Synaptec is delighted that Proserv has become one of our investors, joining our existing shareholders who also supported this funding round.

“As a well-established, experienced provider of control and instrumentation systems, Proserv brings fundamental technical and commercial expertise which will be vital to ‘business as usual’ implementation of Synaptec’s sensor technology.”

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He added: “Our integrated systems are already being deployed on the world’s largest offshore wind farm and the world’s first floating wind farm. Proserv’s investment and support will help Synaptec scale up to meet increasing market demand.”

As part of the transaction, Proserv’s chief executive Davis Larssen will take up a seat on Synaptec’s board of directors.

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He said: “This is a team comprising both technical excellence and a pioneering, creative outlook, very much like our own. Our commitment to acquiring a stake in the business cements our relationship further and builds progressively on what has been an open and constructive alliance.

“At Proserv, we always seek to develop and nurture partnerships that will ultimately lead to genuine gains and benefits for the broader energy market,” Larssen added.

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