The Indian Startup That’s Turning Air Pollution Into Ink - Homegrown

The Indian Startup That’s Turning Air Pollution Into Ink

I don’t have to profess to be any kind of scientist to say that pollution is not a good thing, not for us and most definitely not for the planet. But what if I told you that a few people have found what appears to be a brightside within the toxic storm that is pollution? Graviky Labs, a company started by Indians , has managed to capture pollution and turn it into different types of inks. Air-Ink, as they call it, is a completely non toxic ink which artists around the world have started to work with to garner support for this ingenious product.

The genesis of the project took place when Anirudh Sharma, co-founder of Graviky Labs alongside Nikhil Kaushik, noticed that every time pollution is released from a source, the source and it’s surroundings get dirty. “Incomplete combustion leads to carbon and pigmentation. You see a car pumping out vehicular pollution and these nanoparticles go into our breath and settle in our lungs. That was the starting point,” he explains in this report. The team went on to create Kaalink, a retrofit technology that captures carbon emissions before it enters into the atmosphere. As it stands, Graviky has captured 1.6 billion micrograms of particulate matter, which equates to cleaning 1.6 trillion litres of outdoor air, as stated on their website.

Artist Kristopher Ho using AIR-INK to beautify a public space in Hong Kong.
Artist Kristopher Ho using AIR-INK to beautify a public space in Hong Kong.

As for how the ink itself is made, Kaalink first captures the soot from a vehicle’s emissions and the soot then undergoes various proprietary processes to remove the heavy materials and carcinogens that is present in the soot. Finally the recovered soot is taken through a grinding process to bring to a consistent particle size, as good as an ink pigment. The company has created several grades of AIR-INK with different applications: 0.7mm round tip, 2mm round tip and 15mm, 30mm and 50mm chisel tip markers, and screen printing ink. To give you a better idea, It takes just 45 minutes worth of vehicular emissions captured by Kaalink to produce 1 fluid ounce of ink, as stated on their website.

Graviky Ink is currently available on their Kickstarter page, through which around 700 artists created an artist link and started to use the ink. In this report, Sharma said that the funding from their Kickstarter campaign will go towards scaling the operations and for the pollution deployment process, which is investment-heavy. As for the future, Sharma states “We’re already a profit-making company and sure that we want to move forward and go large-scale. Currently, the inks are priced higher than regular inks because the cost of making it is very high for us. But eventually, we’ll be able to bring it down to the same price as regular ink. The inks are directly proportionate to how much pollution we capture.” If this isn’t exemplary of the addage “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure” we don’t know what is. If there was ever a reason to unleash your inner artist and get doodling, this is it.

Watch the video here for more information. Get yourself some ink by contributing to their campaign here.

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