Qarnot computing is ready to equip Provence's intelligent buildings

success story
Qarnot computing is ready to equip Provence's intelligent buildings
Paul Benoit, co-fondateur de Qarnot computing
11 September 2019 / Big Data/Data Centers, Eco-industries, invest in provence, Smart Cities

The Parisian start-up set up in the Pays d'Aix

Traditional heaters use water and oil inside their heating circuits. Qarnot computing is innovating by exploiting the unavoidable wasted energy from IT systems. Paul Benoit, an engineer and Miroslav Sviezeny, a business school graduate, designed the GH-1, a hybrid device that includes both heating and high-level computing elements. Nine years after its creation in the Paris area, the company is coming to the South of France, near Aix-en-Provence, to attract new customers in the tertiary sector. With the support of Provence Promotion, the start-up opened its first office on September 1.

It is considered as somewhat of an UFO by both heating experts and data center operators!  This hybrid device, the QH-1, possesses a double function: heating buildings and computing. Its inventor, Paul Benoit, an engineer responsible for a large French bank's R&D, had the ingenuous idea in 2010 of exploiting the heat produced by computers' microprocessors.

Nine years later, his company which is based in Montrouge outside of Paris, has become a building block in the construction of intelligent buildings after marketing the QH-1 to social housing providers and local communities. "In a Bordeaux apartment building we installed 346 heaters/computers destined to perform high-level calculations for the BNP. We transfer the data via optical fiber therefore without any loss. Qarnot computing's strength lies in breaking down the calculations, which are sent encrypted, at the heaters' very location", explains Paul Benoit who has also signed agreements with other banks and is member of the "Computing Building" European program in the Ile-de-France region.

"To recruit around ten developers and sales representatives"

In the aisles of the Paris commercial real-estate trade show in December 2018, the City of Marseille and the metropolitan agency for economic attractiveness, Provence Promotion, came across this Parisian gem eager to spread its wings in the provinces and abroad. Hesitating between Grenoble and Provence, it finally opted for the South, convinced by the economic potential of France's second largest city and its quality of life.

Since September 1, Eric Ferrand, Qarnot computing's Sales Director has been overseeing the Eguilles offices located in the Morphoburo business center. "We are going to recruit developers and sales representatives in order to expand our customer base in Italy and Spain. Our team in the South should expand to 5 employees in 2020 and eventually reach about ten collaborators", announced Paul Benoit.

While setting-up in Provence and through Provence Promotion, Eric Ferrand met with the local planning and development authority Euroméditerranée, the SATT-Sud Est, thecamp and the incubators Ze Box and Obratori.

After successfully raising capital twice, Qarnot is now considering another financing round. It's also announcing the launch of the QB-1 this coming October. This digital boiler for buildings will heat water traveling in copper pipes through processors and exchangers.

"These boilers house 18 to 24 processors in comparison to three inside a QH-1 heater", adds Paul Benoit. Simultaneously, he has launched "Oasis", a platform that goes well beyond the building's technical management. "Oasis controls the building's energy management and, like an operating system, also provides information (air quality, meeting room occupancy, temperature, parking management, etc.)", explains the CEO.

In December 2018, Qarnot computing and the Casino group came together to create Scale Max, a joint-venture destined to use the square footage of around twenty stores and warehouses in France for setting-up mini data centers.

A win-win situation in terms of profitability and sustainable development based once again on recycling the heat from IT systems and marketing the data. Qarnot plans on doubling its turnover in 2019 which reached €3M in 2018.