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The 4,000 plus fixed chimney kilns form the largest stationary source of GHG emissions in Bangladesh which is around 5.4 million tonnes of CO2 annually. Besides the air pollution, brick making industries contributes to three other serious environmental concerns: land degradation, deforestation and depletion of water resources”
International Labour Office (Geneva) Report
Skills for Green Jobs in Bangladesh – 2010
THE BRICK INDUSTRY
- Brick making industry is the single largest emitter of industrial black carbon in Asia - major contributer to Asian Brown Cloud (ABC).
- Significant impact on global warming.
- Large emitter of CO2 & GHG due to high coal use - emitting 890 million tonnes CO2 p.a.
- At a conservative estimate, 300,000 outdated brick kilns burn 1,500 billion bricks p.a., consuming 375 million tonnes of coal - plus scavanged fuels
- Significant social problems - clean air, health, safety, living and working conditions, in addition to regional problems.
THE BRICK MARKET
The brick making industry in developing countries is most often the
industry of the very poor and under-privileged. There are approximately
300,000 polluting brick kilns throughout the developing world with over
100,000 of these estimated to be in India alone.
The brick industry in India is the third largest user of coal, over 30 million
tonnes per year. The majority of Indian kilns are Clamp Kilns.
In China the brick industry is claimed to be the fourth largest user of
It is estimated that the worldwide handmade brick production in
developing countries is 1,266 billion bricks per annum, split into three
- China - 700 billion bricks – 55.3%
- India – 144 billion bricks – 11.3%
- Asia, Africa, South America & Mexico – 422 billion bricks – 33.4%
In contrast, worldwide machine made brick production using automated
kilns, is approximately 125 billion bricks, with Australia’s brick production
accounting for only 2 billion of this total.
The UK produces 4 billion, the USA 8 billion and China 100 billion. Other
developed countries produce approximately 11 billion.
The basic concept of brick kiln technology in developing countries has
changed little over the past thousands of years. Brick making is an ancient
technology. Bricks are made, dried, fired and cooled.
Kilns first started in pits, walls were then added. The addition of a chimney
stack, improved the air flow or draw of the kiln, thus burning the fuel
more completely. Several variations have been invented over the years
with varying degrees of efficiency and cost.
Brick kilns fall into one, or both, of the following categories:
Kilns are sealed and the internal temperature increased according
to a schedule. After the firing process is complete, both the kiln
and bricks are cooled. The kiln is left to cool sufficiently before the
bricks can be removed.
Due to the relative ease and cost of construction these are the
kilns types primarily used in developing countries.
Continuous (or Tunnel)
There are two types of continuous kilns:
- Tunnel kiln - the bricks are moved through a stationary
fire zone, like a train in a tunnel.
- Continuous kiln - the bricks remain stationary and the
fire moves through the kiln with assistance or help of a
chimney or by a suction fan.
Both types are long structures in which only the central portion is
directly heated. The same result can be achieved with both types
The main difference is the tunnel kiln is vastly more expensive
to build however it saves on labour costs and can be highly
automated, bricks can be made and burnt without being touched
by human hands.
The following kilns are most commonly in use today:
Clamp Kiln – ANCIENT TECHNOLOGY 4,000 B.C.
The most commonly used kiln in the developing world. These kilns have
a devastating impact both on the environment and workers. Generally
built with four brick walls like a room, then green bricks are stacked
inside. They are inefficient in fuel, labour intensive and highly polluting.
They are only operated in intermittent mode. To produce higher brick
production clamp kilns are frequently built, grouped and operated in
Hoffman Kiln – INVENTED GERMANY 1858 – KNOWN ALSO AS CHINESE HYBRID HOFFMAN OR FIXED CHIMNEY KILN
These kilns have a large permanent arched masonry and an expensive tall masonry chimney of about 30 metres. They must operate in continuous mode. Used in Australia from 1883 until approximately 1985.
Tunnel Kiln – INVENTED GERMANY 1877
Most common in developed countries, since their invention tunnel kilns
have now become highly automated and are for large brick production.
Bricks move mechanically through a long stationary fire zone. They have
minimal labour requirements but a very high capital cost. They must be
operated in continuous mode and require a guaranteed electricity supply.
One such plant built in New South Wales in 1993 cost $40 million, one
currently proposed for Perth will be over $75 million.
Bull's Trench Kiln – INVENTED ENGLAND 1876
Movable Bull's Trench Kiln is commonly used in India and many developing countries. This kiln uses movable metal chimneys which are lifted and man-handled by a team of workers into different positions as the fire moves through the kiln. Has very high emissions, dispersed over a wide area, working conditions are hazardous. Although banned in many areas is still used. The Improved Bull's Trench Kiln has a permanent, fixed brick chimney over 30 metres high. The chimney requires skilled bricklayers to construct and is costly to build. The kiln can only be operated in continuous mode. It has no roof and cannot be used during the monsoon season.
Vertical Shaft Kiln – INVENTED
Reasonably fuel efficient however the kiln is limited due to a low
throughput. Green bricks are loaded into the shaft and therefore must be
hauled up a ramp to the top of the kiln.
Habla Zig-Zag Kiln – INVENTED GERMANY 1927
The Habla Zig-Zag Kiln is the most fuel efficient kiln yet invented and the cheapest to build. It features a long fire zone advanced by a suction fan. The Habla Zig-Zag Kiln consumes less fuel, uses less mechanical energy and requires far less capital outlay with almost no maintenance. It also has a roof resulting in improved working conditions, the potential of water being collected and longer operational time during monsoon conditions. The Habla Zig-Zag Kiln is ideally suited to both large scale continuous brick making operations and to small semi-continuous village applications in developing countries.
Brick making consists of the following processes:
- Winning – digging for clay
- Preparation – preparing the clay for shaping
- Shaping – moulded using various mould types and
methods, by hand or by machine
- Drying – open air, hot floor, chamber, tunnel, etc
- Firing – various kiln methods including Bull’s Trench,
Clamp, Habla, Hoffman, Tunnel, etc.
- Quality Control – sorted into grades, e.g. firsts, seconds,
- Dispatch – Sales