Courtesy: Graviky Labs
In a world that was mainly dependent on fossil fuels for hundreds of years, it's no surprise that the consequences are catching up with us. In recent news, air pollution is the leading environmental cause of death on the planet, and is to blame for 2.2 million deaths in China and India in 2015 alone. As society continues to wean away from the use of fossil fuels, one startup company has found a way to put pollutants to good use.
The company is called Graviky Labs, and their specialty is capturing carbon emissions from exhaust pipes and turning the pollutants into inks, suitably dubbed as Air-Ink. Co-founder, Anirudh Sharma, came up with the idea during a visit to India when he noticed the carbon black soot clinging onto to his clothes like a coat of paint.
Upon returning to his studies at MIT, Sharma tested the idea using a candle, then combined the soot from the candle with oil and rubbing alcohol to create a thick ink. For larger scale emissions, Sharma and his business partner Nikhil Kaushik redesigned the soot trap to fit over exhaust pipes. The retrofit technology called Kaalink, captures 95% of pollutants including extremely tiny particulates 2.5 micrometers or smaller.
The Kaalink works by giving off a positive electrostatic charge on the exiting pollutants, drawing them to the negatively charged chamber. To keep vehicles functioning to their fullest, a bypass system allows air and water vapor to pass through the chamber and once it's full, a red light alerts the motorist.
From there Graviky collects the particulates and strips them of heavy metals, leaving behind the carbon-rich soot. The soot is then ground into an ultrafine powder and mixed with solvents and oils to produce five grades of ink.
So far, 75 Kaalinks have been installed, capturing about 220 pounds of particulate matter, which is enough to make 250 gallons of ink. Graviky plans on distributing Kaalinks to bus and taxi fleets to capture more carbon from making its way into our lungs.
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