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Qarnot Computing has raised $6.5 million for its system that captures the heat from computers and repurposes it for residential and business climate systems.

Rather than build a centralized datacenter, which requires huge amounts of energy to cool, Qarnot has developed a distributed architecture that places its processing machines in people’s homes in units that look like a typical radiator. The computers are networked to provide high-power cloud computing for clients, and the heat they generate is used to warm a home or apartment.

Qarnot has drawn praise for its innovative approach to tackling the massive energy consumption that’s created as more services move online and the number of power-hungry datacenters explodes.

The Paris-based company has been working on its residential cloud computers, QH•1, for several years. With microprocessors embedded in the back, the units are sold to apartment buildings and placed inside each unit. The machines are connected by fiber optic cables, and Quarnot sells the service as a “green cluster” of cloud computing. Residents can control the release of heat, much as they would any traditional climate system. In its home market, Qarnot says it now heats 1,000 housing units, including an entire building in Bordeaux.

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More recently, the company has unveiled an industrial version that basically turns the cloud computing system into a water boiler. The QB•1 digital boiler captures the heat released by 24 servers and uses it to heat water circulating in boiler pipes attached to the machines. These are targeted for large commercial buildings.

Quarnot

The digital boiler is now being used by Casino, one of France’s largest grocery store chains, to heat one of its warehouses.

On the cloud computing side, the company has now signed up several major French banks, including BNP Paribas, Société Générale, and Natixis. And it also landed a partnership with Illumination Mac Guff, the Paris-based animation studio that is owned by Universal Pictures and makes the Despicable Me movies.

Qarnot president Paul Benoit said the latest funding will be used for continued research, product development, and sales expansion.

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