Photo of David Leal

Energy & sustainability

David Leal

Created a machine that unprints the ink from sheets of paper

Year Honored

Latin America

Hails From

"Printers are becoming smarter and smarter. However, they are still not able to undo their work, and this leads to an even greater use of paper. Additionally, paper production consumes a large quantity of natural resources and produces a high rate of greenhouse emissions.

To tackle this problem, the young Mexican David Leal has introduced the ability to unprint copies thanks to an unprinter he developed and perfected as part of his doctorate studies. This unprinter scans the sheet of paper to confirm whether it can be unprinted, thereby activating an elevated temperature mechanism that separates the pigments present on the paper. In the opposite scenario, where unprinting is not a viable option, the copy is marked for recycling.

The next step is to improve the system to allow for its inclusion in traditional printers, in order to convert the action of unprinting in a routine activity, which would represent a savings of 40% as compared to the cost of buying new paper. The challenge is to make the commercialization more attractive by lowering the cost of the system´s components."