The eureka moment came when college mates Arpit Dhupar, Kushagra Srivastava and Prateek Sachan went out for a drink of sugar cane juice and noticed how a nearby wall was blackened by the fume spewed by a diesel generator. They joked that air pollutants should be extracted to paint all the walls of Delhi black.
2) Big Idea
After a year's research, a retrofit device called Chakr Shield was patented in 2016. It fits in the exhaust pipe of a diesel generator and captures 70-90 per cent of the particulate matter, ranging from PM 1 and PM 2.5 to PM 10. The captured material is passed through an air cooler exchanger pipe and stored in a solvent. The soot produced is converted to ink in Chakr's processing unit, which can be used for printer cartridges and paint.
Chakr was part of BOSCH India's DNA Accelerator Programme and got backing for product development and technology commercialisation. In 2016, it was a winner of India Innovation Growth Programme, held by the Department of Science & Technology, and in August 2017, it won a grant for new technology development from Indian Oil Corp. It also raised an undisclosed seed round last year.
As of now, it has 18 customers across industries. Its first installation was at American Tower Corporation, and the biggest one was with oil and gas company where the challenging part was placing the product at the top of a high building.
5) What sets them apart
Chakr is trying to bring down Delhi's air pollution level, largely caused by diesel generator emissions. Such emissions lead to PM density as high as 300 micrograms per cubic metre while WHO's safety limit is 23 micrograms per cubic metre.