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  • Every year, more than four to five million people die

  • due to exposure to outdoor air pollution

  • around the world.

  • This petri dish that you are looking at

  • contains approximately 20 minutes' worth of pollution

  • captured off a pyrolysis plant.

  • This is PM 2.5.

  • These particles -- you can see it right now,

  • but when they're out there in the air, you won't see them.

  • These are so tiny that our lungs --

  • our bodies cannot filter them, and they end up in our bodies --

  • give us asthma and lung cancer if not treated in the right time.

  • On a trip back to India, when I was a student in 2012,

  • I took this picture.

  • This picture stuck in my head.

  • On one side, you see this exhaust of a diesel generator,

  • the same generator which is a sign of human progress,

  • which is a sign of rapid industrialization

  • and what we have become as a society in the last 100 years,

  • generating energy.

  • But on the other side,

  • you see this very interesting triangular, black-colored swatch,

  • that is produced by the same residual particulate waste

  • created by the emissions of the generator.

  • Now, this picture gave me an idea

  • and got me thinking about rethinking both pollution and inks,

  • because it was making that black-colored mark.

  • Now, the reality is that most of the black ink that we use conventionally

  • is traditionally produced

  • by conventionally burning fossil fuels in factories.

  • There are factories around the world that are burning fossil fuels

  • to produce carbon black,

  • to make black inks that we use on an everyday basis.

  • But given that millions of liters of fossil fuels

  • are already being burned out there

  • by our cars, our engines and our exhaust out there,

  • what if you could capture that pollution

  • and use it to recycle and make those inks?

  • I decided to give this experiment a shot.

  • I went back to my lab back in Boston and conducted a small experiment.

  • In Boston, I couldn't find much pollution to play with,

  • so I resorted to using a candle.

  • This was an experiment.

  • I burnt a candle,

  • built this contraption that would suck in that candle soot,

  • mixed it with some vegetable oil and vodka,

  • because to a DIY hacker, these were really easily available.

  • (Laughter)

  • And after mixing them,

  • you could churn out a very rudimentary form of ink

  • that would go into a cartridge,

  • and now you could print with it.

  • This was my "Hello, World!" of experimenting

  • with printing with pollution.

  • This is the same pollution that I showed you in the petri dish,

  • which is the result of any fossil fuel that is being burned out there.

  • In 2015, I decided to take this experimentation forward

  • and set up a lab in India

  • to work on the capture and recycling of air pollution.

  • In the good times, the lab used to look something like this.

  • But experimentations were not always controlled,

  • and disasters happened.

  • And while experimentation would happen,

  • the lab would end up looking something like this.

  • Well, we knew where we wanted to go,

  • but we were not sure how exactly to reach there.

  • The passersby who used to go by that lab through that building

  • used to, at times, think, "These guys are making bombs in there,"

  • because there was too much fire, wires and smoke in the same vicinity.

  • (Laughter)

  • We decided, let's move to a garage and take experiments forward.

  • We took a garage, and during the early stages,

  • we were driving around Bangalore with contraptions like these.

  • This is an early-stage prototype.

  • Imagine the looks people gave us,

  • "What are these cars driving around doing?"

  • This is an early-stage prototype of our system that would capture pollution

  • that is being released from a conventional diesel-based car.

  • This is an early stage of the technology.

  • We advanced the technology and created this into this version

  • that would capture pollution from static sources of pollution,

  • like a diesel generator.

  • If you see, all the fumes disappear as soon as you turn this machine on.

  • Without affecting the performance of the engine,

  • we are able to capture 95 percent worth of pollution

  • released from the diesel generator.

  • This is the particulate matter that we are talking about that we capture,

  • in this case, within three to four hours of operation of a generator.

  • And while our experiments and our research was advancing,

  • a very big company, a very big brand, approached us and said,

  • "We want to take this idea further with you guys,

  • and take this further in a very big celebrated form."

  • They said, "Let's do a global art campaign

  • with the inks that you are making off this pollution."

  • I'll show you what the ink looks like.

  • So, this pen is made by recycling 40 to 50 minutes of that car pollution

  • that we are talking about,

  • the same pollution that is in the petri dish.

  • And it's a very sharp black that you can write with.

  • So I'm going to write ...

  • PM 2.5, that's incorrect.

  • So this is a very sharp black that is generated by the same pollution.

  • After much work on the lab-level research,

  • we got an offer from a big corporation to do a very big trial of this idea.

  • And it happened to be a brand, and we didn't think twice.

  • We said, "Let's go ahead."

  • Inventing in the lab is one thing

  • and taking ideas and deploying them in the real world is completely another.

  • During early stages,

  • we had to resort to using our own houses and own kitchens

  • as our ink-making factories,

  • and our own bedrooms and living rooms

  • as the first assembly line for making these inks.

  • This is my cofounder Nikhil's own bedroom,

  • that is being used to supply inks to artists all around the world,

  • who would paint with AIR-INK.

  • And that's him, delivering AIR-INKs to the ports

  • so that the artists around the world can use it.

  • Soon, we started seeing

  • that thousands of artists around the world started using AIR-INK,

  • and artworks started emerging like this.

  • Soon, thousands of black-and-white, pollution-made artworks

  • started emerging on a global scale.

  • And believe me, for a group of scientists and engineers and inventors,

  • there was nothing more satisfying than that the product of their work

  • is now being used by some of the finest artists around the world.

  • This is the cover of "Contagious" magazine last year,

  • that was done by using the same ink that we made back in our labs.

  • This is a famous painting by the British artist, Christian Furr,

  • who painted it for the song "Paint It Black" by The Rolling Stones.

  • Now, there's more to this pen and this ink

  • than just the popular and pop-culture artworks.

  • And now our goal is to create a company

  • that can actually make some black money -- I mean, just money --

  • (Laughter)

  • and high-quality printing processes and inks

  • that can replace the conventional black inks

  • that have been produced for the last thousands of years around the world.

  • Soon after our growing popularity and artworks around the world,

  • we started facing a very different kind of a problem.

  • We started getting spammed by polluters,

  • who would send us bags full of pollution to our office address,

  • asking us, "What can we do with this pollution?"

  • Our lab back in Bombay right now has pollution samples

  • that have come from London, from India, from China, you name it.

  • And this is just the beginning.

  • This polluter sent us this specific image, asking us

  • that these are all bags filled with PM 2.5,

  • and can we recycle it for him if we paid him some money.

  • Well, what would he have done if we did not take that pollution?

  • He would probably find a nearby river or a landfill and dump it over there.

  • But now, because we had the economics of AIR-INK figured out on the other side,

  • we could incentivize him to give us this pollution and make inks from it,

  • and turn it into even more valuable products.

  • Now, pollution, as we all know, is a global killer.

  • We can't claim that our ink will solve the world's pollution problem.

  • But it does show what can be done

  • if you look at this problem slightly differently.

  • Look at this T-shirt I'm holding right now.

  • This is made from the same AIR-INK I'm talking about.

  • It's made from the same pollution that is inside this petri dish.

  • And the same pollution we are all breathing in when we are walking outdoors.

  • And we are on our way to do better than this.

  • Thank you very much.

  • (Applause)

Every year, more than four to five million people die

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B1 US TED pollution generator lab black petri

【TED】Anirudh Sharma: Ink made of air pollution (Ink made of air pollution | Anirudh Sharma)

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    林宜悉 posted on 2019/02/08
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