Krishna Gopal Singh, 29
Ecofriendly printing ink that reduces harmful emissions by almost 99 percent
EnNatura Technology Ventures
The offset printing industry emits 500,000 tons of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) annually into the atmosphere. These emissions are huge contributors to global warming and are also detrimental to the health of millions of workers in the global print industry. The major source of pollution is the petroleum components in such inks which are released in the atmosphere as harmful emissions during the drying and the washing processes of printing, causing photochemical smog formation and ozone depletion. Printers who are exposed to regular emissions are in danger of acquiring respiratory ailments such as tuberculosis and even cancer. The current ecofriendly solutions available in the global market are either expensive or do not produce the same quality output as the widely-available petroleum based inks.
Krishna Gopal Singh, chief technology officer of Ennatura Technology Ventures, Delhi, has formulated a biodegradable printing ink which is mainly composed of the resin, the solvent which is used to dissolve the resin, the color pigment, and additives. Singh and his team created a functional resin from renewable feedstock so that all the chemical reactions involved in the printing process don't result in emission of volatile organic compounds. This particular kind of resin is pH-sensitive and the inks formulated with it print well with mildly acidic fountain solutions used in lithography printing.
The Ennatura inks contain non-edible vegetable oil as the drying oil, thus removing VOCs from ink formulation itself. This typical characteristic of the ink changes the way it dries after printing, causing no emissions during the process. Since the resin is pH-sensitive, it can be washed off by a mildly alkaline aqueous wash solution, thus eliminating the need of using hydrocarbon based wash solutions like kerosene. Thus, the composition of the ink renders the whole printing ecosystem to produce no harmful emissions. Since a simple alkali solution can be used to wash off the inks effectively, the washing costs could be brought down by 85 to 90 percent, reducing the overall cost considerably. Singh is presently working on a bench scale production.