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"Chakr" a startup founded by Ishani Jain, Prateek Sachan, Kushagra Srivastava, and Arpit Dhupar made it to headlines when it was listed under top 5 startups of the country. To know more about this exciting initiative we contacted Ishani Jain, a third year chemical engineering student. You can also find more about their work at their website chakr.in

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What is Chakr?

According to WHO, an air quality index (AQI) of 200-300 is very unhealthy and is not livable for old people and heart and lung patients. And you will be scared out of your wits to know that everywhere in Delhi, the AQI is greater than 500. At the far end of December, there were instances when the AQI was as high as 900 in Punjabi Bagh. That is the kind of scary situation we are presently living in.

Not that people don’t see this, but there is a limit as to how many constraints can be put (Delhi’s odd-even vehicular policy is an example) and how practical and ready-to-implementable they are.  With this in mind the team thought of coming up with a solution that harnesses technology itself, yes technology, which is currently the deadliest of all polluting agents.

Chakr is a device that captures soot from the exhausts of machines run by various fuels. The soot that is captured is then processed to make it a suitable raw material for various industries like paints and inks, and tires and can also be converted into activated carbon.

On being asked about how IIT has helped them, Ishani says that IIT has been helpful to them in a number of ways. They have had expert guidance from various professors like Prof. Divesh Bhatia, Prof. Paresh Chokshi and Prof. PVM Rao. Most of their testing for the device was also done at IIT itself, though they pursued this project mostly independently.

 The Device

What makes them tick?

As Ishani puts it, ‘Since, we are cutting down pollution directly, we can safely assume that this device shall prove quite successful in reducing particulate matter caused diseases like asthma. Apart from that, since the soot we collect shall be sold to the industry at a cost, the person who installs this device shall be able to earn some revenue as well. Hence, this would be killing 2 birds with the same stone: reducing pollution as well as making profit! My personal opinion about the start-up is that of uncapped freedom. Here, at IIT we are sometimes bound with certain restrictions and obligations to do things as they are supposed to be done. While a start-up gives you a much larger window to explore yourself as well as the world. Since, I started out with like-minded people, I felt great pleasure seeing that my opinions were valued, the effort I put in was recognized and whatever I brought to the table was considered at least once, however absurd it looked!’ 

Also, the growth in such an environment is much greater since a lot is solely your responsibility and nothing can be taken for granted.”

Sample of the solution collected


Any joiner would have plenty of options to explore the various sections and teams involved in a start-up, like marketing, design, operations and product development and the incentive for the work can be decided upon depending on the work expected by the team and the expectations of the interested party. She goes on to motivate the students to work in the real, outside IIT world as much as possible because no amount of theoretical learning can beat the taste of actually seeing things happen.

The Way Ahead 

For the next few months, they would be working single-mindedly on this. They have many other ideas in sustainable energy sector out of which a few deal with alternative fuels from waste and some deal with bringing together revamped planning and innovation.


Something made out of the ink

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