Most of our country’s big cities are struggling to bring down high pollution levels. While ill-planned schemes like the Delhi odd-even rule haven’t been able to do much good, it seems like one Anirudh Sharma has found a good way to not only bring down pollution levels but also put vehicular emissions to good use.
An employee of MIT Media Labs, Anirudh worked on a device that used static electricity to capture the soot from a candle. Soon, he realized that the chemical released by the device was Carbon Black, a pigment used to make ink. “I wondered, can we use pollution as a source of pigmentation?” Anirudh said. Next, Anirudh collected the pigment and mixed it with rubbing alcohol and oil to create ink for his printer’s inkjet cartridge. This ink was almost identical to the ink in the factory-spec cartridges.
At this point, Anirudh teamed up with Nikhil to start Graviky. The duo came up with a soot trap that can be fitted on the exhaust pipes of cars and diesel generators. The device has been named as Kaalink (from ‘Kaala’ and ‘Ink’). As per Graviky, this device can trap up to 95% of emissions, including really harmful particulates that measure 2.5 to 10 micrometres in diameter.
This device uses an electrostatic charge to trap the exhaust gas particles in a negatively charged chamber. The air and water vapour are released. There’s no impact on the engine performance. Also, it takes roughly two weeks for this device to fill completely. The particulates that are collected are transferred to containers called carbon banks.
Anirudh says that this process is much a much better way to produce black carbon ink. “Even if just 15% of the world’s black ink supply is replaced with Air Ink, we could end up sequestering a lot of air pollution,” Sharma said to wired.com.