NGenTec recruits 'world expert' Benatmane for top post

A WIND power technology company spun out of Edinburgh University has assembled a three-strong executive team as it embarks on a commercial roll-out.

NGenTec, which is developing a novel generator for use in large wind turbines, said it had appointed a "world expert in the field" as its chief executive.

Makhlouf Benatmane is joining the Edinburgh-based company from Converteam, a global specialist in power conversion, where he was a director in charge of the wind and renewable sector.

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Benatmane, a University of Nottingham graduate, is a fellow of both the Institute of Engineering and Technology and the Institute of Marine Engineering, Science and Technology.

Meanwhile, Nazar Al-Khayat will take up the post of chief technical officer at NGenTec with Jim Boyd as chief finance officer.

The firm, which has already secured funding in excess of 3 million, is developing a system that can replace the gears used in wind turbines with a series of electromagnets. It claims that its equipment is 50 per cent lighter than rival systems and that its modular design is "cost effective and highly reliable".

Wind turbine manufacturers are looking for gear systems that require little maintenance, especially for the offshore market, where servicing can be expensive.

Benatmane said: "I was attracted to NGenTec by the technology in terms of performance, ease of manufacturability and potential market share.

"The company has already started talks with potential customers with several major wind turbine companies."

Derek Shepherd, NGenTec's non-executive chairman, who worked at temporary power supplier Aggreko for 22 years, said: "We have secured the appointment of a major industry player. Dr Benatmane's arrival sends out a clear message that NGenTec is a company to watch."