In November of 2021, I alongside my colleagues Taira Mehta and Anupra Chandran spoke at the largest innovation and technology event in the world, Web Summit. A few months before our presentation, we co-created a carbon capture project called Kaptis, which focuses on extracting carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and converting it into graphene. The number one thing we do right now after capturing CO2 is burying it into the ground and that isn't efficient, because there is no economic incentive, so we wanted to use carbon instead as a resource. Currently, carbon is being turned into many different products; from diesel fuels to industrial materials such as concrete.
We thought outside the box a little and realized that there are methods being used to produce graphene, but our method uses light instead of heat (lowering energy requirements and cost of the conversion process). Based on our predictions, this catalysis can reduce the graphene manufacturing approach by thousands of dollars, saving more room to extract CO2 from the atmosphere and make use of it.
At the conference, the talk itself was an incredible experience. We gave a 20-minute keynote, voiced our message, and asks for thousands of people that stopped by to watch us, which was amazing. After taking the stage, we gave an interview with Accenture (for their carbon net-zero campaign) where the director asked us questions about our experience as young women in STEM, hopes for a sustainable future, and how companies can help in that mission.
I later hosted roundtables with Opal Tometi, Founder of Black Lives Matter, and officials from the Shell corporation, as well as political elites about how to intersect sustainability with the inclusion of different sexualities, ethnicities, and races. A few other colleagues of mine also got to interview Forbes contributor Rhett Power on my work in environmental policy and side projects within international peace.
This conference changed my perspective on the importance of communicating to a larger audience about activism, technology, and projects. I learned so much about how to conduct myself on stage, and be bold with my words, so I can have interesting discussions with other youth advocates about the dire need for more young people solving world problems. I hope to speak at more Web Summit events in the future!