The 2020 Call For Code Global Challenge by IBM is calling on developers across the globe to find technological solutions to halt and reverse the impact of Climate Change. To extend support for the initiative, Nature inFocus is publishing a series of Climate Change stories from around the country.
It’s official! There is now a near-absolute consensus among policymakers that climate change is no longer a problem of the future but one that is of immediate concern. Every industry that burns fossil fuels releases some type of carbon emissions, which accelerates climate change and environmental overload. Unfortunately, most of us treat this as a problem to be solved by others – the governments, multilateral agencies and of course the MNCs. Rarely do we acknowledge our own contribution to the problem – excessive consumption, unsustainable habits and in many cases being apathetic to science.
As we start to imagine a post-COVID world, both individuals and organisations have voiced that they’ve had enough and refuse to return to their old ways. Globally, sustainability can no more be a mere box to be checked off, and there is a visible change in how companies are taking steps to disrupt their supply chains and challenge the virgin materials they use.
Carbon emissions, as much as they are a problem, are a goldmine if looked at from a material science perspective. With the right approach and processes, the trillions of pollution particles that are a part of the problem can be utilised for the carbon they come loaded with.
Twentieth-century inventor and visionary, Buckminster Fuller made the prediction around 40 years ago! He said, “Pollution is nothing but the resources we are not harvesting. We allow them to disperse because we have been ignorant of their value.” I believe we have not even scratched the surface of this statement.
At Graviky, we are working to address this problem through a fusion of material science, chemistry, and sustainable design. AIR-INK is the first upcycled line of products from Graviky to turn zero-value carbon emissions into high-value materials. Using our proprietary recycling technique, we convert industrial and automotive-based emissions into a grade of inks and coatings that can be used for colouring, printing and packaging.
Look around you. How many things in your immediate environment are painted black? Your keyboard, your headphones, the dashboard in your car; the pervasiveness of this black material in our lives is deeper than we perceive. Black is one of the most used colours around us and is the most commonly used industrial colour, and it is produced using petroleum combustion. For each tonne of AIR-INK, we replace 500-750kg of CO2 while reducing environmental pollution. Our process has a double impact: it is no longer necessary to burn fossil fuels to make black colour and we are sequestering all the carbon from existing polluters into ink.
As consumers buy less and more thoughtfully, the material ingredients and impact of products will be under the scanner like never before. This heightened awareness allows the work of companies such as ourselves, working to transform diverse waste streams, reach even larger audiences. From material developers who are using polluting algae to create bioplastics to those who are recycling marine debris, we are in excellent company today and stand to collectively tackle the challenges of pollution, resource scarcity and climate change in an effective manner.
We do however have a more challenging task at hand. We want to replace all the black ink in the packaging and apparel industry with ours. Both these industries are very polluting and the idea is to feed the pollution back into their streams for a win-win result. The textiles industry has long thrived on our never-ending hunger for throwaway clothes. In a time when upcycling and repurposing are considered an elite approach to consumerism, we need a circular system in which take, make and remake is the only way forward.
The end customers are willing to pay for sustainability and Graviky gets to hunt and process more carbon emissions. Currently, we are sending 5000 Gallons of AIR-INK to a large computing company to reduce their carbon footprint through packaging.
We are also working with partners such as Carbon Craft to help them make sustainable composites such as tiles. It doesn’t stop at ink, where there is pollution we see possibilities… and the possibilities are endless.
With inputs from Nikhil Kaushik, Ambika Hinduja, Purva Chawla (Material Driven), Ella Nobby and Aashir Suthar.
If you are a developer interested in helping address some of these challenges, visit the Call For Code website and get started on your idea. Winners will be awarded $200,000, receive open source support from The Linux Foundation, and will get a chance to meet mentors and investors. You will find ample resources and support to see your technology come to life.