By Laignee Barron
Air pollution isn’t something most people like to keep around. It kills around 7 million people annually, according to the World Health Organization. But MIT spin-off Graviky Labs is stockpiling soot emitted by diesel-burning engines to recycle into black ink. “Pollution is bad, but pollution happens to be a really good raw material to make inks,” says Graviky co-founder Anirudh Sharma. Most of the black ink we use in pens and printer cartridges comes from burning fossil fuels. To reduce that, and cut existing pollution, Sharma and his team came up with a technology called KAALINK that harnesses one of the world’s most health-damaging particulates, known as PM 2.5. The carbon from that pollution is then transformed into a certified-safe AIR-INK pigment that can be used in pens, textiles, packaging and artwork. For now, AIR-INK is commercially available only in marker form. But in the coming months, Graviky plans to launch an online platform for customized printing.