Bottling Pollution

Chakr Innovation

3. Good Health and Well-Being 9. Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure 12. Responsible Consumption and Production 13. Climate Action

Overview

Chakr Innovation developed the world’s first retro-fit emission control device for diesel generators. The technology can capture over 90% of particulate matter emissions from diesel generators, providing clean air for everyone to breathe while ensuring that it does not become airborne again.

Authors

Archit Thanekar

Archit Thanekar

Arpit Gaur

Arpit Gaur

Simran Arora

Simran Arora

Raghav Soni

Raghav Soni

Aditya Anshu

Aditya Anshu

School

Goa Institute of Management

Goa Institute of Management

Professor

Divya Singhal

Divya Singhal

Innovation

Haven’t we all, at some point in our lives, felt like bottling up our problems and casting the bottle away? Three young and ambitious entrepreneurs have done just that, except that the problem is a major cause of pollution and instead of casting the bottle away they have made a usable product out of it!

Air pollution is one of the leading causes of death across the globe. It causes cardiovascular and respiratory diseases, cancer, and irreversible lung damage. And instead of curbing pollution, the sources are only rising exponentially. Not much has been done to control polluting sources.

Arpit Dhupar, Kushagra Srivastava, and Prateek Sachan - founders of Chakr Innovation - have successfully captured the pollution at its source, caused by diesel generators, into a bottle. The genius does not end here. This bottle full of captured pollutants is processed to turn it into usable ink. That ink can then be sold and used for textile printing, cardboard printing, etc.

The protagonist of the aforementioned plot is this fascinating innovation called the "Chakr Shield." This shield is attached on the top of diesel generators, and the emissions from the generator pass through this shield where smoke from the generator is cooled by a heat exchanger and a solvent that continuously circulates to capture the particulates. The Chakr Shield can capture about 70%-90% of the particulate matter, which is then processed to make ink.

This technology works using just 1% of the energy of the generators and has no adverse impact on the engine. It is a retrofit device and is thus scalable. Moreover, this ink is free of heavy metal and carcinogens, so it is safe to use.

Chakr Innovation has set forward with a strong goal in mind, and that is to create pioneering, sustainable, and scalable technologies to help us fight the threat caused by pollution today. Their mission stands to develop and implement innovative solutions that can effectively control pollution – saving the natural product, a retrofit emission control device for diesel power engines. Chakr Shield aims at addressing one of the most pressing issues for humankind "availability of breathable air by capturing pollution at source."

Filled with a team of zealous engineers who are passionate about their environment, Chakr Innovations set out to break boundaries and help solve the world’s biggest problem. Chakr Shield has been improved and refined over time. The innovation is not just the technology but also the process and the patented design.

Bottling Pollution

Chakr Shield

Inspiration

“Everyone has the right to breathe, and breathe clean air,” says Arpit Dhupar, one of the co-founders at Chakr Innovations. He is a passionate engineer born in Delhi who was forced to leave his love for football at the age of 18 due to respiratory issues.

Arpit Dhupar, along with his friends Kushagra Srivastava and Prateek Sachan, was out on a casual stroll to drink some sugar cane juice at a street-side vendor. The sugar cane vendor was using a small diesel-powered engine to power up his juice crusher. The engine fume outlet was fixated towards a wall, due to which the wall had turned black. Here is where Arpit was struck with the idea - of why not doing something like this intentionally. They joked about painting all the walls of Delhi from paint extracted from air pollutants. And what followed was one year of research into a device that could capture the carbon emitted from a diesel generator while not proving detrimental to the working of a diesel generator.

Over time, they became serious and started building prototypes around the concept. In 2016, they procured an engine of their own and started experimenting with one of their home rooftops. It took them about a year and a half to build a working prototype of their device. When they did use their device, they found the amount of carbon particulate emitted by these engines, which was being captured, was much higher than what manufacturers stated. They realized the kind of problem our world was in from diesel emissions.

With a stubborn mindset and strong perseverance to help curb pollution, here is where they decided that this idea was not something they would let die in a lab; it had to be introduced into the market as a solution to the problem our world is in.

After extensive hours of research and experimentation, the trio further went on to purchase a 25KW diesel generator, a necessity for mobile telecommunication towers, and retrofitted their device to the generator. Their prototype device on a generator was successful, a device they called the “Chakr Shield.”

Overall impact

Today, Chakr Innovation has a team of skilled engineers and innovators who believe that to improve the quality of life on earth, we need to improve the quality of its air. Air pollution causes 4.2 Mn premature deaths every year. Nine out of ten breathe air containing high levels of pollutants.

In 2016, when Delhi was declared as the most polluted city, their team realized that there is no product in India that captures particulate matter, which is a complex mixture of extremely small particles, liquid droplets and is hazardous. Chakr Shield helps in capturing the carbon particulate matter also known as sby as much as 90% from a diesel generator.

Using their technology, they have been successful in capturing the carbon emissions at the source. They have been able to achieve UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) like Climate Action. Not only controlling the emission, but Chakr Innovations are also already exploring new applications like waste management and energy storage.

Chakr has helped in cleaning approximately 1500 Bn liters of air. This is enough air for over 16 lakh people to breathe in for a year. Their technology drastically reduces carbon escape into the environment to create any negative impact. Anything that is coming out is going into this technology. This will help them achieve their goal of becoming the largest clean-tech in India.

The amount of ink is not very high. It does not suffice to recover the cost of this technology. But making some improvements in their product and scaling up the production has helped them to reduce the cost. The Pollution Control Board and government have increased focus on climate level solutions. They are recognizing these problems and some new regulations are expected to be out very soon.

Chakr has done partnerships with major generator OEMs in India, who will be helping them out in business development and capturing a larger market share. They have also gotten recognition from organizations that are climate centric. These organizations help them out to find wherever the requirement of Chakr technology exists. This has added a lot of value to Chakr by increasing the outreach of their technology.

Business benefit

Chakr Innovation has been able to purify the air for more than 16 lakh people to breathe in for a year!

Chakr has benefitted from its product and is looking forward to exploring some new applications to reduce pollution. They started off as a team of 7-8 people in a small garage. Today that number is 60 with a manufacturing plant at Pune, a small unit in Mundka, and a sales and marketing office in Gurgaon and Chennai due to high demand of their tech in south India. They have installed over 90 products across the country, which includes an installation at temperatures as low as -15 degrees Celsius in Leh.

Chakr has a good client base that includes IOCL, HPC, ITC, and Tata. Over the years they have been able to decrease the cost due to improvements in technology and economies of scale. The main barrier they are facing is the government regulations that can act as an enabler to their product. However, the regulations are coming in a few states where the emission control devices have been made mandatory. This opens a huge market for them and they have gotten the queries from other countries too. They will be eyeing scaling this technology and achieving their goal of becoming the largest player in India. There are new technologies in the pipeline with the intent of mitigating carbon footprint.

Due to their innovative technology, Chakr has been awarded from organizations like WWF, UNEP, FICCI, etc. These organizations have also extended a helping hand to make certain plans related to the environment and increasing their outreach.

Social and environmental benefit

We all know how air pollution is a major problem our race is facing and also a severe one which causes many environmental as well as human health issues. As per the WHO data, 91% of the world’s population live in places where air quality exceeds WHO guidelines limits, and approximately 4.2 million deaths every year occur as a result of exposure to ambient (outdoor) air pollution. As per a report published in The Guardian (data are taken from NASA), air pollution and global warming (a result of air pollution among others) has led to a 75% reduction in the volume of summer sea ice from 8 million square km in 1980 to 2 million square km in 2012, which is an enormous loss of ice.

They have been able to capture about 1000 kilograms of carbon matter released out of generator sets using these technologies. These carbon particles would normally have gone into the air and eventually in the lungs of organisms breathing in that air, or the worst-case scenario leads to a rise in temperature as well.

These products have helped in cleansing roughly about 1500 Bn Litres of air. This is equivalent to the air required by 16 Lac people for a year.

Chakr means a circle and at Chakr Innovations, they believe in having a circular economy. Their mantra is, "Whatever goes out, comes in," and to get this mantra fulfilled, they sell the ink produced by this process at less than its cost and set an example on how much they’re committed to the society and environment. They have around 2-3 technologies/products in the pipeline on similar lines to help the environment. Their main goal is to reduce the carbon footprint and make this world a better place to live in.

Interview

Paridhi Mishra, Product Manager

Photo of interviewee

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Chakr Innovation

Chakr Innovation

New Delhi, New Delhi, IN

Business Website: https://chakr.in/

Year Founded: 2016

Number of Employees: 51 to 200

Chakr Innovation aims to create pioneering, sustainable, and scalable technologies to combat the grave threat posed by pollution. Their innovation the "Chakr Shield" captures pollution right at the source!