The Pen That Could Rewrite History


New Climate pen designed with recycled aluminum and carbon ink.

We live in a period of rapid climatic change, where more and more CO2 is being released into the atmosphere every year. We are also learning that much of the  technology all of us use on a day to day basis is harming the environment. To combat this, scientists and inventors are redeveloping ordinary technologies to make them more environmentally friendly. Finnish researchers from the VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland have redeveloped one of the most ordinary technologies — pens — and called their improvement the climate pen. Normal pen ink is made of volatile organic compounds such toluene, benzene, and xylene, which can be toxic for wildlife. Instead, researchers have designed an ink that is not only environmentally safe, but also able to reverse the impact of CO2 emissions to the environment.

How does this pen work?

The pen is made from recycled aluminum and it uses carbon for ink. Where does it get carbon? CO2 contains one carbon molecule and two oxygen molecules. The creators of the pen heated CO2 to very high temperatures to make its bonds unstable, disassembling the CO2 into its components, the carbon molecule and the two oxygen molecules. The pen uses the carbon part as pen ink.

Future of the pen

The largest Nordic newspaper, Helsingin Sanomat, gave climate pens to all the world leaders under the Group of Twenty (G20). The Group of Twenty is a group of 19 countries along with the European Union where countries discuss how to sustain the global economy, and climate change migration. They hope the product will convince leaders to become more climate friendly. In addition, Helsingin Sanomat sold 250 other pens to people all over the world.