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Zig-zag stacking and firing for a cleaner brick sector in India


SG 1: Reducing climate and environmental risks & Action Area B: Stimulating action for clean air


Guwahati, Assam, India

Date & Time

20 March 2023 to 22 March 2023


Bidya Banmali Pradhan


About the event

The Government of India has updated its emission standards for the brick sector, requiring brick kilns to adopt cleaner technologies, such as the zig-zag technology – stacking bricks in a zig-zag pattern for better insulation and fuel efficiency. However, most brick kilns in Assam and other Northeast states in India still use traditional practices that are far more polluting.

In a bid to reform the brick sector, we are partnering with the Pollution Control Board of Assam to introduce technologies and practices that can replace traditional and polluting methods.

As part of this process, we are coorganising a three-day training programme on zig-zag technology. The training will cover theoretical and practical aspects, including raising awareness on the economic benefits of the zig-zag technology; reducing fuel consumption and emissions; and operating the zig-zag technology, including firing, stacking, fuel selection, and application.

We are organising this workshop under the framework of the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO)-funded Himalayan Resilience Enabling Action Programme (HI-REAP).



This training will help brick kiln owners, practitioners, and government officials from Assam and other states in Northeast India better understand best practices in the brick sector, especially the zig-zag firing and stacking technology.


Expected outcomes

This training is expected to support brick kiln owners in transitioning from using traditional, polluting methods to the zig-zag technology, thereby helping reduce emissions, improve brick production practices, and increase productivity.



In India, approximately 200,000 brick kilns use traditional and polluting technologies, consuming about 35 million tons of coal and 5–10 million tons of biomass fuel. These kilns generate nearly 42 million tons of CO2, contributing significantly to greenhouse gases and black carbon emissions. Black carbon is the second largest contributor to global warming after CO2 and directly affects health, visibility, and the melting of Himalayan snow and ice. Therefore, greenhouse gases and black carbon have grave implications at different scales.

The zig-zag brick kiln technology reduces coal consumption by about 20% and produces cost-efficient, better-quality bricks with significantly lower emissions. A cleaner and improved brick industry can potentially deliver a trifecta of benefits: cleaner air and healthier ecosystems; improved brick production practices and increased productivity; and better social and working conditions in brick kilns.

To support the transition of brick kilns from traditional and polluting practices to cleaner and improved technology, ICIMOD is generating evidence and knowledge, promoting policy uptake, and building capacity on the related practices among its Regional Member Countries.






Tentative agenda

All timings are in India Standard Time (IST).