Turbine spin-out wins £2m in funding

VENTURE capitalists have pumped £2 million into an Edinburgh University spin-out in the latest boost for Scotland's growing renewable energy sector.

Amsterdam-based SET Venture Partners and Scottish Enterprise's co-investment fund have each injected 1m into NGenTec, which makes drive-shafts for wind turbines.

Derek Shepherd, founder and chairman of the company, said the money would be used to build a full-scale prototype of the company's device, which removes the need for a gearbox.

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He said taking the gearbox out of a wind turbine made the structure lighter and cheaper and meant there were fewer moving parts that needed to be maintained or replaced.

Shepherd was managing director of the international arm of Glasgow-based temporary power supplier Aggreko and served on the board of the FTSE 100 company for 11 years.

NGenTec expects to take on about 20 staff over the next two years and hopes to have its first commercial products ready in about one year.

Shepherd said: "I plan to use the Aggreko model of sourcing parts from around the world but assembling them here in Scotland.

"For the offshore wind farm sector, I imagine assembling them in one of the construction yards would be the best plan."

The firm is expected to name its first chief executive soon.

NGenTec recently received a 800,000 grant from the UK government's environmental transformation fund.

The European Wind Energy Association forecasts that by 2020 there will be 7GW of new wind turbine installations annually, which would represent a market worth about 7 billion a year.