There is a new weapon in the fight against diesel engine pollution. This innovative device is more than just a filter, and its originality derives from the way that it valorizes particulate matter, which it captures and transforms into ink that can be used by artists or for textile printing (Facebook). Kaalink technology consists of a cylindrical device installed directly on car tailpipes, which functions on the principle of static electricity. Triggered by energizing a high-energy plasma contained in cartridges placed inside the cylinder, it captures up to 95% of the particulate matter present (MIT News). The company then collects used cartridges and disposes of the heavy metals and other toxins to obtain a purified carbon-based pigment. Using different chemical treatments, the pigments are then transformed into ink or functional paint, called Air-Ink (Graviky).
This initiative is part of a global trend to valorize waste from human activities that are the main cause of climate change. In addition to particulate matter, carbon dioxide is another main target. But some research faces a major obstacle: recovery processes are particularly energy-intensive and economically unviable (BBC). In addition, these technologies do not receive unanimous approval among scientists, who believe that the promise of Carbon Dioxide Removal could have an impact on the political will to reduce polluting emissions. A skepticism that does not stop the proponents of carbon engineering, who have just launched in Iceland the world’s first mini-factory with negative emissions. It is able to decontaminate the ambient air by capturing CO2, which is then injected into basaltic rocks where it solidifies due to a chemical reaction (Quartz).