Carbon Craft Design: Mumbai start-up sets world record for successfully converting air pollution into carbon tiles9 months ago Shravani Maddirala
With more than 91 percent of the world’s population is breathing polluted and unsafe air, air pollution or its grave aftereffects are not unheard of. Air pollution makes for a miserable living truth owing to the rampant inconsiderate industrialization all over the world. Changing the narrative and boldly leading us to a green future is Carbon Craft Design- the Mumbai startup making heads turn through its world record for successfully converting air pollution into carbon tiles.
According to a recent study, the construction industry cycle, right from making the building materials to the dusty construction sites, is responsible for large quantities of greenhouse gas emissions and a quarter of global waste. They investigated this cycle to develop a solution. Their design philosophy is to address climate change issues in a material form for the people they are catering their solution to. It is their passion to empower people to make climate conscious decisions. And Design is the universal language that helps them achieve it.
Since 2016, Carbon Craft Design has been prototyping various iterations using local craft. The journey has helped develop the first building material made with air pollution. Particulate Matter (PM) in polluted air that otherwise reaches our lungs is used in making the material.“Each carbon tile is equivalent to cleaning 30,000 litres of air. Moreover, these tiles consume only one-fifth of the energy required to manufacture vitrified tiles.This means, instead of burning the tiles to come up with the finished product, we use a hydraulic press that helps us in manufacturing these tiles” Tejas Sidnal told The Better India.
In collaboration with Air-Ink, an Indian startup that turns pollution into ink, Carbon Craft Design developed a technique that involves trapping pollution (carbon) from air and incorporating it to make designer tiles, resulting in the invention of the Carbon Tile. “We utilised the colour of pollution to our aesthetic advantage and created tiles in shades of black only. But since the pollution source varies each time, the shade of black could also vary,” Kishor Avhad, Lead Designer at CarbonCraft Design told One Earth.
Stumbling upon the concept of biomimcry, which is a method for creating solutions to human challenges by emulating designs and ideas found in nature, at a design competition in his third year of college at University of Mumbai, this young architect was deeply fascinated. He even foucsed on it as his thesis and wondered if it could be employed to design sustainable and environment-friendly structures. Right out of college, he joined Ratan J Batliboi Architects, a Mumbai based architectural firm.
While working as a junior architect, he started looking for courses that could suit his interests of biomimicry and nature focussed technical solutions. To his surprise he couldn’t find many courses that met his requirements. Eventually, he secured a scholarship and got through a Master’s programme of his choice at the Architectural Association (AA), School of Architecture in London where he graduated with a degree in Emergent Technologies and Design in 2013.He stayed in the UK for a bit and became closely involved with AA’s annual architectural visiting school workshops that focussed on biomimicry, computational tools, and material systems.
In December 2018, he was coordinating an AA visiting school, and here the theme was air pollution and architecture. Architecture students and practitioners came from all over the world, which led to a great deal of exchange of information. After this, Tejas realised that for a product to be accepted in the market, the product should have a design value that is lacking in the bricks.
Thus, he took this idea forward and found Carbon Craft Design in January 2019. He hired a researcher and technology head to help him come up with the tile, and after countless experiments and time in the lab, they developed the carbon tile in May 2019.Once the team at Carbon Craft Design came up with the perfect prototype, they identified traditional handcrafted cement tile producers in Tamil Nadu and Gujarat, to manufacture the tiles on a large scale,
The two series that Carbon Craft has released are the IdenTile series (standard range) and the IndusTile series (premium range). In the year 2020, the team aims to utilise one tonne of black carbon particles removed from the atmosphere. Through responsible practices and a commendable spirit of innovation to better the world, Carbon Craft design is setting an example for the world to follow.