Innovative Ink

July 23, 2019

AT FIRST, I drew thin spiraling swirls with the concentrated black pigment, then a galaxy of Yayoi Kusama-inspired spots, followed by a forest of black crosshatches—all with a marker made from polluted air. It dawned on me as I doodled that the simple act of drawing takes on a different dimension when the ink is made from upcycled contamination.

The innovators behind AIR-INK capture particulate matter from exhaust with a device that connects to the muffler of a car or extracts contamination from ambient air. Once the pollution is gathered, it’s processed with specialized treatment methods and made into an array of paints and inks.

“Pollution is nothing but the resources we are not harvesting. We allow them to disperse because we’ve been ignorant of their value,” R. Buckminster Fuller once wrote. While this declaration is central to Graviky Labs’ AIR-INK efforts, it also serves as a reminder to those of us in the water industry to look for value in unexpected places, to reevaluate conventional processes, and devise more intelligent ways to use our resources sustainably.

In this issue of Water Efficiency magazine, we celebrate the diverse technologies that support our reexamination of water management practices while offering solutions for enhanced resource conservation. With global water supplies becoming increasingly strained, reimagining the configurations of our water systems, finding value in natural byproducts, and taking advantage of efficiencies at the interface of our energy and water systems has become imperative.

The ability to reuse rainwater, stormwater, and greywater for non-potable applications helps conserve both energy and water. In “Inside Water Reuse”, we explore the treatment technologies, evolving public perceptions, and important policy shifts that are making onsite water reuse an excellent solution for augmenting water supplies. Water that flows down our drains can be used to meet non-potable needs such as flushing toilets, cooling buildings, and irrigation.

Technologies that help ensure water quality during storage can also support energy conservation by making post-storage treatment unnecessary. In “Tank Lining Technology”, we learn the essentials of corrosion protection and about the various lining materials that perform the best. From paints and epoxies to urethane and fiberglass reinforced polymers, lining technologies have evolved significantly. Today they are able to protect metallic substrates, refurbish tanks, and lengthen the lifespan of assets, all while ensuring water quality.

It takes energy to provide water, water to generate energy, and it takes both water and energy to produce food. Finding efficiencies in these relationships is becoming increasingly important. In “Redefining Symbiosis Through Technology”, we examine the ways in which interconnected devices, the IoT, data, and software systems can help optimize resource utilization and minimize loss.

Just as ink made from air pollution inspires us to reexamine our perceptions of what we consider waste, in this issue of Water Efficiency magazine we invite readers to reconsider water’s value and the systems that we use to store, move, and treat it. From reusing water to harnessing the IoT, with each article, we aim to elevate the conversation about the ways in which water technologies enhance our efficiency and help us quench a thirsty planet.

About the Author

Laura Sanchez

Laura Sanchez is the editor of Distributed Energy and Water Efficiency magazines.

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