Study on Evaluating Energy Conservation Potential of Brick Production in SAARC Countries

Type Journal Article
Title Study on Evaluating Energy Conservation Potential of Brick Production in SAARC Countries
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2013
URL Report_MinErgy.pdf
The spike on global energy demand to fuel the growing socio-economic development
activities is further depleting the already scarce non-renewable energy sources. As a result,
there is growing acceptance that Energy Efficiency and Conservation is a least cost option to
meet the increasing energy demand while mitigating climate change impact. The
technological advancement for energy-efficiency in the brick industry in the SAARC
countries is taking place at a slow pace in spite of efforts made towards that direction. This
study with the main objective to “Evaluate Energy Conservation Potential of Brick
Production in SAARC Region” was conducted in Nepal, as part of a larger study on four
SAARC countries. The study focuses on the sector status and energy efficient techniques in
the targeted member countries to reduce the cost of production, and the efficient utilization
of fuel. This study is based on Secondary information. The study will recommend strategy
for efficient use of coal in brick industry, outline the objectives, priority areas, technologies
and best practices.
The contribution of bricks in the construction sector of Nepal is significant as it is the most
common and preferred construction material. There are 429 officially registered brick kilns
in Nepal while the Federation of Nepalese Brick Industries (FNBI) estimates more than 700
brick kilns in the country. Based on the secondary data analysis of the year 2009, the study
estimated production of 3.2 billion bricks per year. Similarly, the total initial investment in
the sector is estimated to be US$ 37,615,000. About 140,000 people are estimated to be
employed in the sector.
Coal, which is imported mainly from India, is a major fuel for brick firing in Nepal. The
annual coal consumption by the brick sector in the country is estimated to be of 449,358 tons.
There are five main brick firing technologies prevalent in Nepal viz. Clamp Kiln, Movable
Chimney Bulls Trench Kiln (MCBTK), Fixed Chimney Bulls Trench Kiln (FCBTK), Vertical
Shaft Brick Kiln (VSBK) and Hoffman Kiln. MCBTK constitute 57% of the market share and
is the major prevalent technology in Nepal, followed by FCBTK with 33%, Clamp kiln 6.7%,
VSBK 3.6 %and Hoffman 0.3%. The government has recently banned the MCBTK since 2011.
VSBK is the most energy efficient. The environmental performance of VSBK is superior to all
other technologies. The Suspended Particulate Matter (SPM) of VSBK is 28.5 % less
compared to FCBTK and 33.6% less compared to MCBTK respectively. The Sulphur Dioxide
(SO2) emission is 84.2 % less for VSBK compared to FCBTK. This study estimated 1,107,667
tons of CO2 is annually emitted by brick kilns in Nepal.
Air pollution is identified as a major cause for higher healthcare cost in urban cities of
Nepal. The economic cost of urban air pollution in Nepal is estimated at US$ 21 million or
0.29 percent of GDP (World Bank, 2007). Brick kilns are a major contributor to these health
costs since brick kilns are identified as third largest source of air pollution in the Kathmandu
Valley, the first being vehicular pollution and second being road dust re-suspension
(Gautam, 2006). Safety and occupational health of workers are key issues associated with
brick kilns.
MinErgy 5
The major stakeholders in the sector are brick consumers, brick entrepreneurs and their
associations, government agencies, donor-funded projects and technology providers. A
number of donor-supported projects are involved in providing support for technology
establishment and energy audit. Similarly, a number of local organizations are involved in
local level applied research and development (R&D).
The government has formulated various national regulations that promote cleaner
technology and energy efficiency. They focus on environmental issues particularly
regarding the brick sector. Some of them are the Environment Protection Act 1997, Industrial
Policy Act 2010. The effective implementation of policies has contributed to promotion of
cleaner technologies. In 2009, the Industrial Promotion Board decided to replace MCBTK all
over Nepal within two years. Also, the Industry Policy Act 2010 mentions that industries
adopting environment friendly technology and that save energy will be provided technical
and financial support. The technical supports, financed through external funding agencies,
have been instrumental in promotion of energy-efficient technologies. However, the
confidence building of brick kiln entrepreneurs is a key factor to introduce new technology
and practices. The increased awareness level of communities around the brick kilns and
local level lobbying against pollution has positive impact on change in technologies.
The study mentions that due to unfavourable investment environment, entrepreneurs prefer
investing in shorter payback period, which hinders the introduction of lower emission,
higher efficiency kilns. A number of positive policies have contributed to the promotion of
cleaner technologies. However, ineffective implementation of positive policy incentives
hinders the rate of energy-efficiency measures adoption. Policy incentives coupled with
access to commercial lending will accelerate the rate of dissemination of energy-efficiency
measures. Programmatic approach to develop skilled brick kiln operators will be an effective
strategy to achieve energy-efficiency on the backdrop of the proven results that improving
the operational practices can achieve energy-efficiency. Skill enhancement of local
technology service providers and working through the locally available capacities will help
to sustainable availability of services for wider dissemination.
In conclusion the report mentions that the brick sector in Nepal has a huge potential for
saving energy and reducing emission through suitable interventions such as improving
operational practices, upgradation of existing technologies and introducing feasible new
technologies. Focus should be given to allocation of financial resources on technology
development; development of long-term and phase-wise sectoral plan along with a range of
technological options and emission standards including ground level activities to
demonstrate the solution.

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