Turning diesel to ink in India

(UN Environment, 28 Jan 2019) Since Arpit Dhupar, founder of Chakr Innovation, won the Young Champions of the Earth prize for Asia and the Pacific region, his start-up has come a long way. Chakr Innovation captures the dirty pollutant known as particulate matter from diesel engines and turns it into ink.

Diesel generators are extensively used in India for power back-up, emitting unburned diesel or soot. In areas where there is no connection to electrical grids, diesel generators are the primary source of energy, and are used on average for eight hours a day. 

Chakr Innovation aims to cut Delhi's air pollution levels, largely caused by diesel generator emissions. Such emissions lead to particulate matter density as high as 300 micrograms per cubic metre. At such high levels, soot becomes a danger to human health: the World Health Organization’s safety limit is 23 micrograms per cubic metre.

“The soot we are capturing is so fine that it cannot be filtered by your nose or lungs, it goes directly into the blood stream,” said Dhupar.

“This is dangerous for human health. We have developed a technology that captures the soot particles before entering the atmosphere, without causing any harmful impact on the performance of the engine. This is unheard of in the industry.”  

Literally printing with pollution, Chakr Innovation is converting the soot into ink. The company’s device, called the Chakr Shield, captures soot particles by suspending them in liquid form, preventing the small soot particles from becoming airborne again.

Once the soot particles, heavy metals and harmful substances are separated, the pigment is extracted and a binder is added to make ink.

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UN Environment, 28 Jan 2019: Turning diesel to ink in India