Air Ink is a step forward to cleaner air. Graviky Labs, a spinoff of MIT Media Lab has developed a device named KAALINK that takes in air pollution and turns it to a safe, high-quality ink.
‘When life gives you pollutants, make ink,’ Anirudh Sharma
Anirudh was born and brought up on the streets of Delhi, India that happens to be one of the most polluted cities in the world. In 2013, the idea was initiated at the MIT Media Lab, where Sharma captured soot from a candle and recreated it as a printer toner. The co-founders Anirudh Sharma and Nikhil Kaushik redesigned the device to fit the exhaust pipes of cars and diesel generators.
‘Kaalink’ means black in Hindi, and the designers claim that their device is capable of collecting 95% of the pollutants from the auto exhaust. A single device can accumulate enough carbon to produce an ounce of ink in about 45 minutes.
Kaalink collects the pollutants from the exhaust pipes which then undergo processes that remove heavy metals and carcinogens from the soot to get a purified carbon-rich pigment. This pigment is used to make a variety of inks. Several grades of Air Ink have different applications that include a bottle of screen printing ink and markers with 2mm round tip and 15mm, 30mm and 50mm chisel-tip.
The Kickstarter campaign of Air Ink is up, and you can pledge as little as $5 to get your name on the mural. Unlike many other Kickstarter projects, this one is already working, and the crowd funding is just to refine and scale up the production. While the process is complicated, it is more sustainable than the conventional pigment which relies on fossil fuel burning for production.
Look how Kaalink drastically cleans the exhaust.
The idea is an excellent step forward for a greener environment but not an absolute solution to air pollution, and the founders agree. 75 Kaalinks have been installed so far, collecting 220 pounds of matter that is enough to produce over 250 gallons of ink. The plan is to distribute Kaalinks to buses and taxis which could maximize the production. These devices will then be emptied into carbon banks from where it will be picked up and processed.
“Even if just 15 percent of the world’s black ink supply is replaced with Air Ink, we could end up sequestering a lot of air pollution.”
Graviky Labs is turning pollution to art, and the world needs that.