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Everything we consume as humans to make our lives easier continues to leave harmful traces in nature. Fortunately, technology that accelerates the evolution of humans and societies evolve even at a faster pace. Just like humanity, it continues to modernise, develop, and renew itself. We need technology, now more than ever, to re-establish the balance we disrupted, offset the harm we did, and re-align with nature.


“How can we turn something as frustrating as air pollution to something as useful as ink?” This question gave birth to an exhilarating project. Air-Ink is a company that manufactures patented ink and composite products by condensating the carbon-based gas waste resulting from the air pollution caused by fossil fuels. Founded by Graviky Labs, an MIT Media Lab spinoff, Air-Ink designed Kaalink, a cylinder to collect soot with a device that is integrated into the exhaust pipes of diesel engines. Kaalink has been tested and approved to collect 1.6 billion micrograms of particulate matter. This means successfully cleaning 1.6 trillion litres of air without affecting the performance of the engine. After completing the preliminary filtering and collecting, Kaalink is taken into a laboratory to purify the dirt. Toxic materials such as heavy metals, oils, and VOCs are distilled with special methods and safely eliminated. Then, the soot is grounded based on the required level of pigmentation and, finally, turned into ink. A 30-ml Air-Ink prevents 45 minutes of pollution. Air- Ink takes something as common as air pollution and turns it into something as equally common as ink and, all the while, inspiring us to take hopeful steps towards the future.


Understanding how cities change and into what form bears great significance to fight for our planet. Cities like Istanbul, where change never seems to stop, consume 78% of global energy and cause more than 60% of greenhouse gas emissions, contributing to pollution and climate crisis on a massive scale. Repurposing waste as materials marks a positive step towards a more sustainable world. Expressing the possibility of sustainable cities through art and doing this with Air-Ink brings all the pieces of the puzzle together. Global brands who wish to inspire more sustainable cities collaborate with Air-Ink with the purpose of raising awareness. A local example recently took place in Istanbul. The project is piloted in Istanbul, Bangkok, Warsaw, Madrid, New Delhi, Mexico City, Lagos, Seoul, and Sao Paulo. Nine local artists from these cities designed nine bottles, one for each city, using the Air-Ink technology. The limited edition of the Istanbul bottle is designed by popular street artist Mr. Hure known for his graffiti. Portraying the unique spirit of Istanbul with a customised artwork, the bottle comes in a limited series of 2,500. Such projects not only broaden our horizon as to how art can contribute to a better world, but also sheds light on the authentic culture of cities.


One of Graviky Lab’s co-founders, Nikhil Kaushik answered our questions about the Air-Ink project. Where did the idea to turn air pollution into an ink solution come from?

One of our co-founders came up with the initial idea that you can use candle soot to make an elementary form of colour that can be used for paint or print. As a team, we took this initial idea to build a commercially viable inks and paints portfolio under the Air-Ink brand.

Did you encounter any difficulties during the implementation of the project? What kind of motivation was behind it?

Like any other new idea, the journey from ideation to product is filled with challenges. However, most of these challenges were technological and operational in nature for us. We have received unimaginable support from people all over the world. They have not only encouraged us but actively supported our efforts. Several designers and artists across the world have been key to spreading our idea to various countries. The whole team has been the source of energy for this project. They reached out to us and expressed a very strong commitment to take up this project. Despite several operational challenges, we never saw them faltering in their commitment.

Are there new exciting topics on Air-Ink’s agenda?

We continue to innovate and explore different applications for our technologies. We are running a few pilots in the fashion industry to help it decarbonize its production. Some of these pilots should be in public sometime at the end of this year.

Air-Ink is a truly inspiring project to increase environmentally friendly attitudes and behaviours. What effect do you think your collaborations with global brands have had on the spread of the project?

For us, when brands associate with Air-Ink, it acts as a strong statement of support. Given their reach and presence in practically every country of the world, this collaboration has helped us reach to newer markets and different users. There are several beverage companies who are lining up to use Air-Ink. This is really a positive development for us.

Thanks to this collaboration, you are also known in Turkey, now. We think this innovative inspiration will influence and change the local ways of thinking. What would be the most important message that you would like to share with our readers?

One message I would want to convey is that climate action does not require you to be an engineer or a scientist. Small changes within our own control can go a long way in making this world a better place to live.


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