We’ve been pouring carbon into our atmosphere for over 200 years, with potentially catastrophic consequences for the global climate. Now a start-up venture called Air Ink has found a good use for some of that extra carbon: a line of pens whose ink is made of recycled air pollution.
Air Ink is the brainchild of an Indian collective known as Graviky Labs. According to the company’s website, “We complain about air pollution. What if we had a way to capture, clean, and repurpose it into a means of expression?”
Each pen contains the equivalent of between 30 and 50 minutes of air pollution generated by car exhaust. Artists have already begun using the pens to create some eye-popping works, sponsored by Tiger Beer:
The founders got the idea several years ago during conversations with the Fluid Interfaces Group at MIT’s Media Lab, and presented their vision at the 2013 INK conference. The collective spent the last several years conducting their own research into the chemical processes required for extracting carbon from car emissions and recycling it into usable ink. Once they receive certification, Air Ink should begin scaling up production of the pens for commercial use.