India is the second largest producer of clay fired bricks, accounting for more than 10 percent of global production. India is estimated to have more than 100,000 brick kilns, producing about 150-200 billion bricks annually, employing about 10 million workers and consuming about 25 million tons of coal annually. India’s brick sector is characterized by traditional firing technologies; environmental pollution; reliance on manual labour and low mechanization rate; dominance of small-scale brick kilns with limited financial, technical and managerial capacity; dominance of single raw material (clay) and product (solid clay brick); and lack of institutional capacity for the development of the sector.
In a first of its kind detailed performance assessment, the principal investigating organizations – Greentech Knowledge Solutions Pvt. Ltd., Enzen Global Solutions Pvt Ltd, and University of Illinois, examined the energy, environmental and financial performance and brick maker input for five main brick firing technologies during 2011:
- Fixed Chimney Bull’s Trench Kiln (FCBTK – India)
- Zig-zag (natural and forced draft – India)
- Vertical Shaft Brick Kiln (VSBK – India and Vietnam)
- Down-Draught Kiln (DDK- India)
- Tunnel kiln (Vietnam)
The study is one of two research components aimed at developing strategies for the introduction and promotion of cleaner walling materials in India.