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30 Sep 2015 | Press releases

Design manual launched to support the construction of stronger and cleaner brick kilns in Nepal

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Photo: Alex Treadway/ICIMOD.

The “Design Manual for Improved Fixed Chimney Zig-Zag Brick Kilns” has been released by Honorable Minister Mahesh Basnet, Ministry of Industry, at a gathering of government officials, development agencies, and brick entrepreneurs from the Kathmandu Valley.

The International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD), Federation of Nepal Brick Industries (FNBI), and MinErgy have jointly launched a design manual to support the construction of improved brick kilns in Nepal. The manual, which was prepared with input from local brick experts and entrepreneurs, national engineers, scientists, and architects, with external reviews from international experts, is the first of its kind in South Asia.

“I am very positive toward the reconstruction of these brick kilns with a better design and using modern technologies. The Ministry of Industry will always seek to play a key role in the modernization of brick kilns,” said Mahesh Basnet, Minister of Industry, after launching the manual.

In the past, the majority of Nepal’s brick kilns were constructed in a rudimentary style, without consideration of environmental or structural and engineering measures, which is one reason why many of the kilns did not withstand the impact of the 7.8 magnitude earthquake in April 2015. The earthquake resulted in damages worth more than NPR 1.26 billion (USD 11 million) within the brick industry.

After the earthquake, the need to develop a more sound brick kiln design arose. This also presented the brick industry with an opportunity to promote a cleaner brick kiln design that would reduce the emission of harmful air pollutants, while also improving fuel efficiency. The process of developing this manual, including the final design, has pushed the collective thinking of the industry in a positive direction.

“With this improved brick kiln design, Nepal’s brick industry can reduce its coal consumption by up to 30%, which will result in cleaner air in the Kathmandu Valley, and up into the Himalayas”, said David Molden, Director General of ICIMOD. “It can also serve as a model for brick entrepreneurs in other parts of the region to improve their kiln operations, both environmentally and economically.”

The collaboration between the three institutions resulted in a robust structural design for fixed chimney brick kilns that takes into account the need to improve seismic strength, reduce fuel requirements, reduce the emission of harmful pollutants, and improve social aspects of brick kiln production.

The manual is a practical tool to guide brick entrepreneurs as they rebuild their kilns. It includes engineered designs; two supplementary documents provide drawings and construction guidelines. The methods described and recommended in the manual are based on research and consultation with experts. It is expected to serve as a guide for construction engineers and supervisors to delineate essential parameters for the construction of both induced and natural draft zig-zag kilns. However, there are unique features for most brick kilns and kiln sites, so no single design recommendation is appropriate for all kilns. Thus, the proposed design has been developed for particular conditions, as described under the respective headings, recognizing the inherent variability that exists in Nepal.

“FNBI is proud to be a part of the development and publication of this detailed manual, which is the first of its kind in South Asia. I encourage all my fellow entrepreneurs to follow this design when while constructing their kilns”, said Mahendra Chitrakar, President of the FNBI.

Twenty brick kilns are targeted for the implementation of the design in the upcoming operational season, which will begin soon as the monsoon ends. As more entrepreneurs adopt the new design, knowledge on how to build stronger and cleaner brick kilns will improve. It is hoped that with the adoption of improved brick kiln technologies in Nepal, the nation’s brick industry can set an example for brick entrepreneurs across South Asia.

The initiative is supported by the Climate and Clean Air Coalition (CCAC), Climate Health Research Network (CHeRN), and ICIMOD.

For more information, please contact:

Mr Shyam Maharjan

Ms Bidya B Pradhan
Associate Coordinator, Atmosphere Initiative, ICIMOD

Mr Suyesh Prajapati

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