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to innovate successfully is to understand system complexity        



As climate change forces us to do things differently we are faced with increasingly complex problems requiring urgent resolution with innovative measures to improve efficiency, reduce resource use and waste

Synfo supports clients in designing sustainable strategies and solutions across multiple sectors, including clean energy, transport, food and natural resources. The approach is analytical with whole systems thinking to identify opportunities for added value and low waste, promoting circular economy and resilience.


Principal capabilities include


  • systems design, knowledge representation and business intelligence

  • research, process modelling, analysis and evaluation

  • renewable energy system consultancy

  • project design and management

  • interim leadership


Examples of current and past projects

Electrifying the Broads


Synfo provided programme design, project management, research and analysis for a multidisciplinary decarbonisation challenge to displace marine transport emissions from the waterways of the Norfolk Broads. With the UK aim to reach net zero by 2050, marine greenhouse gas emissions will be accounted for from the 6th Carbon Budget starting in 2033. 


Electrifying the Broads is a pathfinding project that aims to protect the future of the local economy which is dependent on holiday cruiser boating and the Broads beautiful natural environment. It is part of the Clean Maritime Demonstration Competition, funded by the Department for Transport and delivered in partnership with Innovate UK. Download the feasibility study report here


Local and Regional area energy system planning

Synfo has provided research, analysis, system and project design support to the Energy Systems Catapult, Cornwall Insight and Pixie Energy, Hydrogen East and the Green Party on a range of whole systems energy plans in the UK funded by the national and Scottish governments. 


Sub-contracted by Buro Happold to create the original high-level smart grid architecture for the Saudi Arabian smart city under construction on the side of the Red Sea. Synfo created a usecase library from which the systems design became the reference model for engineers to develop high-resolution renewable energy, electric transport and digital connectivity layouts. 


SEAnglia Tecnologies

Synfo's vision for a seaweed based circular economy in East Anglia. Working with national and international organisations to develop an end-to-end supply chain for sustainable food and other products. Quantification study comparing Kelp yield grown on offshore windfarms in the North Sea with forest species grown on land in terms of biomass feedstock and carbon capture potentials. This initiative became a founding partner in the new multi-disciplinary Algae Innovation Platform

Technical and policy articles

Synfo as a thought leader has authored  technical and socio-technical articles describing strategies for implementing sustainable and clean energy transitions. Focal topics have included digitalised, democratised and distributed energy systems, circular economies and smart city connectivity at the grid edge.  

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Dr. Nigel Hargreaves is a Chartered Engineer and Member of the Institution of Engineering and Technology. He is the founder and Managing Director of Synfo which he set up in 2015 to offer support for smart energy systems development. He has over 30 years technical and multidisciplinary experience in engineering, climate change, sustainability and sociotechnical fields. Nigel provides consultancy on challenges at local, regional, national and international scales, offering a whole systems approach that can contribute to better leadership, business development and policy decision making. 

Nigel works collaboratively with other organisations seeking to find solutions to man-made global warming, regeneration and biodiversity loss. He is a Climate Commissioner advising Norwich City Council on climate change mitigation and adaption policies, and a member of the Norfolk Chamber of Commerce Business Climate Leaders initiative. His experience includes founding and managerial positions in the following environmentally-positive organisations:

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Synfo Ltd.

The Enterprise Centre

University of East Anglia

Norwich Research Park



United Kingdom

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