Louis Brun, the cybersuns

Louis Brun, les cybersoleils


Who hasn't dreamed, when opening their bedroom curtain to a gray sky, of being able to snap their fingers to command a Florida sun? Remote transportation is not yet within our reach, but fruits and vegetables have a head start. Thanks to the light of Sollum Technologies , a company established since 2018 in Old Montreal, lettuce, tomatoes, fine herbs, root vegetables, peppers, strawberries, and even Buddha's hands can now have fun in the greenhouse under the rays 100% pre-programmed from any latitude.

It is to Louis Brun, the president and CEO of the company and his founding partners, François R.-Moisan and Gabriel Dupras, that we owe this revolutionary intelligent lighting system. By using light-emitting diode (LED) semiconductors optimized by the algorithms his team developed, it is now possible for a grower to maximize the energy that is darted to the plants. This bombardment of beams allows to substantially increase their growth, their quality and productivity.

But beware ! If the technology that the electrical engineer was able to tame is based on LED, it is in no way comparable, for example, to the LED without intelligence that Montreal is installing on the 132,000 street lamps in its territory. The solution his company has developed can be modulated as desired and offers the full spectrum of natural sunlight with 99% accuracy. We are, it goes without saying, light years away from a simple ON-OFF switch!

We are able, for example, to reproduce a Japanese sunrise on a specific date and time of the year.

Our lamps were created to become a smart object. Each of our lights is equipped with a microcomputer. All are interconnected through a network which is able to control all the parameters from a platform that we have called The sun at your service TM . We are able, for example, to reproduce a Japanese sunrise on a specific date and time of the year. We can program it to wake up certain types of plants, to restore the nuances of light which are the colors of the rainbow. It is designed to adapt to different types of crops. This allows them to optimize their growth and grow a greater quantity and variety of plants than standard LEDs. »

Last year, realizing that the industry had reached a level of maturity, Sollum decided to deploy its technology on a large scale. In the DEMERS Greenhouses of Saint-Nicolas and Allegro Acres , in southwestern Ontario, the company has illuminated no less than two hectares of greenhouses with light. The results demonstrated that their solution could generate the expected performance in a real, commercial context. And the benefits are so conclusive that Allegro Acres chose to deploy Sollum's solution on eight additional acres.

To date, Sollum focuses primarily on productivity. With success since on a variety of plants grown in greenhouses, we recorded an average gain in growth parameters between 11% and 39%, significantly shortened harvest times and fresh products longer after picking.

But there is no question for the entrepreneur in his early fifties to stop there. It has already undertaken to push further the use of its algorithms to develop new “solar recipes”. By changing lighting protocols, this visionary can, among other things, increase the sugar and vitamin C content of strawberries, increase the crunch of arugula and the taste of tomatoes. As if they were growing in the field. Thus, by supporting an increased availability of products that are to the taste of consumers, it can contribute to food autonomy.

To make matters worse, Sollum's intelligent lighting solution consumes 30% less energy than the sodium lighting fixtures still used in greenhouses. Better ! They are three times less polluting to manufacture. And it’s Made in Quebec , please!

Since the start of the pandemic, Louis Brun, who is in his fourth start-up company in the field of new technologies, has still managed to double his workforce, going from around twenty to around fifty employees. Is it any surprise that the engineer has just been selected to join the 2021 cohort of Fellows of the C100 ? The only Quebec leader, this year, to have the privilege of participating in this collective of leading businessmen within technology companies, he says he is delighted to be able to benefit from the advice of experienced mentors, a personalized networking and their experience.

In the long term, this father of four children still dreams of revolutions. It excludes nothing. In the absence of ventilation, one day schools could well equip themselves with “algorithmic” lighting to improve the well-being of children. It could potentially be used to promote the health of cows in stables. Now, could we also dream of growing oranges there? A bright future is dawning on the horizon.

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