Kathmandu: Brick entrepreneur Raj Kumar Lakhemaru of Tathali- 9, Bhaktapur who was doubtful in the beginning over his choice to rebuild his industry with the application of new structures based in an engineering design in the aftermath of the Gorkha Earthquake is now certain that he was not putting his investment at risk as his revived brick kiln has already started showing signs of better results.
The revived improved fixed chimney brick kilns including that owned by Lakhemaru based on an engineering aspect (Improved Force Draft System) are producing quality bricks with less use of fuel (coal).
Lakhemaru, who has been in this business since past 12 years, is now excited upon seeing good result of his decision to transform his brick kiln into the improved fixed chimney system that is turning to be the means of producing more and standard bricks while saving fuel.
Fuel efficient, high production
The quantity of bricks that used to be produced from the kiln based on the traditional structure in the seven months was less than that of the production of four months from the improved kiln.
Lakhemaru who had to be satisfied with the production of just 6 to 6.5 million bricks in the seven months from his conventional system-based kiln earlier, is now counting 8 to 9 million bricks just in the four months inside the upgraded industry.
He had to struggle hard to produce 30 percent fine bricks from his industry before the earthquake. He is elated to see a better production from the same industry that is producing up to 90 per cent fine bricks after the transformation. Now the consumption of coal that is used to bake the raw bricks has decreased by 25-30 percent comparing to the past. The reduction in coal consumption results in more economic benefits and less carbon emission, a major threat to the environment.
In one season, it needed around 700 tonnes coal to run his business, but now this amount is reduced to 500 tonnes. A ton of coal costs Rs 30,000. “Less fuel consumption means saving money,” he beamed.
Lakhemaru had invested Rs 120 million to rebuild an advanced brick kiln as the earthquake inflicted damages to the old one. He was not sure whether his decision to invest such big amount would give him better results. Now upon seeing the business of one year, he hopes he will be paid off for his investment and efforts within a couple of years.
His brick kiln that goes by the name of Swaitbhairav Fixed Chimney Brick Industry has a complete cemented chimney towering up to 65 feet, 8 feet more than the set criteria and is the first of its kind in South Asia.
Smoke coming out from the industry is taken to a water-based processing system before letting it go out from the chimney.
The adaptation of an advanced structure has contributed to the reduction in the emission of black carbon. Smoke produced from the kiln is released out thorough the chimney after treatment.
Decline in air pollution
The Swaitbhairav Brick Industry these days releases less amount of smoke compared to the period before the earthquake.
The smoke released by the industry now is in the form of white vapour. More, structurally sound brick kiln consumes less fuel as a special method is applied to burn the coal that is crushed to powder before feeding it into the furnace to heat up the raw bricks.
Water used in diluting the smoke has been stored in a dam outside the brick kiln and reused for other purposes after purification. This type of brick kiln is environment-friendly and worker-friendly as well. Black smoke that used to billow out from the brick industry based on old structure had a noticeable impact on the environment.
Life around the brick industry had been affected due to the release of thick smoke from it. Respiratory related health problems were more common among the locals. But there is a significant decline in such problems, shares a local Ramesh Pandit who is among those feeling a great sigh of relief after the revival of the brick industry with the adoption of eco-friendly structure.
The earthquake had inflicted damages on around 350 brick kilns. The US-based Climate and Health Research Network (CHeRN) with the help of technical assistance from the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD), helped Lakhemaru to rebuild his damaged industry through the new design which was applied to revive nine brick kilns last year while reconstruction of others five with the adoption of the same method is underway.
Starting cost to set up the structurally sound industry is relatively higher than that of the traditional type. But Lakhemaru reached to a conclusion that this eco-friendly, structurally safe, energy efficient, less polluting and worker-friendly structure is certain to pay off the invest in the long term.
President of the Federation of Nepal Brick Industries Mahendra Bahadur Chitrakar says the Federation plans to improve all industries (current numbers 800) associated with by installing the structurally- sound structure.
According to a study carried out by ICIMOD last March, the carbon emission from the improved brick industries has reduced by 40-50 per cent than in the past. Such application adopted by Nepal to improve the brick industry is getting a positive response.
Owners of industries themselves are keen to apply the engineering-based design to rebuild their kilns. We project that there is a significant reduction in the release of pollutants from the brick manufacturing industries within the next few years, says ICIMOD ‘s environment expert Bidhya Banmali Pradhan.
Emission of pollutants up to 600 milligrams per cubic meter from the industrial sector is allowable by the government standard. This amount from the brick kilns revived through the engineereing design is less than 150 mg per cubic meter, MinErgy Nepal Director Sayash Prajapati said. MinErgy is an organisation working on energy efficient technologies and renewable energy at the household and industrial level.
In view of Prajapati, improvement in structure of kilns, the use of alternative energy to bake bricks and production of hollow bricks could prove a major contributor to the reduction of air pollution.
The MinErgy has developed a technology in which charcoal manufactured from Eupatorium adenophorum Sprengel (Banmara) can be used in the place of coal in the kilns. The heating capacity of charcoal from ths Banmara plant is more than that of coal. Some brick industries have successfully used the new invention of the MinErgy.
It is noted that brick industry remains as one of the most polluting industries.
The data of Swiss Agency for Development Cooperation shows that brick manufacturing industries are contributing to 30 per cent of the pollution in the Capital’s air. On average, a brick industry consumes 00.354 million tonnes of coal in a year which ends up with the emission of 0.7 million tonnes of carbon dioxide. The emission of black carbon is one of the major reasons triggering rapid snow melting. RSS