LeoNovus has developed a potentially revolutionary technology to take the unused computing time of consumer devices and use it to supplement the computing power at data centers. It’s an ambitious project that is years in the making, and LeoNovus just announced it has signed up Trimark Associates as a lead customer for its data services.

Sunnyvale, Calif.-based LeoNovus has a deal with a small Canadian town, Stratford (pictured above), where it is testing its technology. The town’s 32,000 residents get free Internet access and a free set-top box from the town. In exchange, they give up the unused computing power of their boxes to LeoNovus, which has learned how to marshal these resources into what it calls a “distributed data center.” It then leases that computing power out to other companies. The deal with Trimark is the first example where a customer has agreed to use LeoNovus’ distributed data center services.

The company says it has figured out how to take “dark cores,” or unused central processing units (CPUs), and assign tasks for them to handle in a massively parallel program. The idea has been around for years, but LeoNovus said in March that it and its sister company Sviral have cracked the code on how to do it. LeoNovus promises fast, secure, and cost-effective compute and storage services for enterprises.

LeoNovus will provide Trimark with services such as data security, backup, and disaster recovery. Trimark provides measurement and communications for the electric and solar power industries. It develops affordable revenue-grade metering technology, monitoring, and reporting solutions for power utilities. It currently processes electricity usage data from 1,200 electric generation meters in the U.S. The value of the electricity that flows through these meters is valued at $500 million a year.

“The electric generation industry is driven by data,” said Mark Morosky, president of Trimark Associates, Inc. “Meter data is the basis for resource owners to get paid, so it’s essential that the data is accurate and secure. Equally important, data from power generation systems and meteorological instruments help the California Independent System Operator (CAISO) ensure a stable electric grid. As a service provider to the electric industry, Trimark must store and back up data to protect against disaster. Efficient, secure, and fast data processing and preservation is required for us to record nearly a half billion dollars in energy transactions. The LeoNovus distributed data center helps us ensure total customer satisfaction and increases our reporting efficiency with reliable cloud services.”

While other data centers can be knocked out by storms or localized disasters, LeoNovus said it has much better overall protection because its processors are spread out over much larger areas. And since those processors aren’t concentrated in one place, it doesn’t require a ton of air conditioning and electric power in a single spot. That helps reduce data center costs dramatically.

“The rapidly growing demand for vast amounts of storage at data centers, whether for the enterprise or cloud services, needs a solution to lowering costs and ensuring data is secure,” said Gordon Campbell, Chairman and CEO at LeoNovus. “Large data centers face the challenge of a year to three years to plan and fully deploy due to an extensive list of time-consuming requirements — acquire land, build a center, comply with government policy and regulations, secure adequate bandwidth, deploy computing power and storage, and do so with a footprint that reduces carbon emissions. The LeoNovus Dark Core processing technology provides the optimal solution by providing highly reliable cloud services.”

Campbell is the founder of such Silicon Valley companies as QuickSilver Technologies and Chips and Technologies. He told us in March that distributed data center services are just one application of the new technology.