Using air pollution to make art

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What: Air-Ink
Why: “How can we take something that’s totally undesirable, ugly, as as air pollution, and turn it into something beautiful…”
Who: Anirudh Sharma, Co-founder, Graviky Labs
Where: Singapore, & MIT Media Lab
How: Capturing air pollution (carbon) from exhaust pipes, into a purification process, treated with solvents to create beautiful inks.




The process

Step 01

While cheaper carbon black inks are manufactured through the deliberate burning of fossil fuels, the Air-Ink team uses a proprietary device – the KAALINK – to capture soot that is already being emitted from vehicles. KAALINK is retrofitted to the exhaust pipe of vehicles/generators to capture the outgoing pollutants.

Step 02

The soot collected undergoes various proprietary processes to remove heavy metals and carcinogens. The end product is a purified carbon rich pigment.

Step 03

The carbon is then used to make different types of inks and paints.

End result

The team has created several grades of AIR-INK with different applications: 2mm round tip and 15mm, 30mm and 50mm chisel tip markers, and screen printing ink.

Check out their Kickstarter campaign here.

The Author

Pierre Monké
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