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Interventions in Brick Sector
   
Brick Sector
 
Background
Brick unloading at Varanasi VSBK
Initial firing in a VSBK

Brick is the major construction material used in India. The Indian brick industry is an unorganised sector with majority of the brick kiln units located as clusters in rural and peri-urban areas. Estimated to produce 140 billion bricks from about 100 000 brick kiln units, brick industry consumes more than 20 million tonnes of coal as well as huge quantity of biomass fuels. It is also a labour intensive industry providing employment to 8-10 million (80 to 100 lakh) workers in various stages of brick production (moulding, loading of bricks in the kiln, firing, and unloading).

Diagnostic studies and project strategy
The diagnostic studies in brick kilns carried out during 1995 indicated high specific energy consumption and high level of pollution in the brick industry. There was large scope for energy efficiency improvements through adoption of energy efficient and environment friendly technologies and BOP (best operating practises).

Brick unloading at Varanasi VSBK
A VSBK site

With techno-social integration becoming core of the project intervention, TERI started focusing on dissemination of VSBK (vertical shaft brick kiln) to promote sustainable livelihood options among small brick makers. Through various training programs and awareness seminars, it is also involved in creating awareness and developing skills among various stakeholders (firemen, supervisors, and brick kiln owners) on BOP in BTKs (bull’s trench kilns) with close involvement of local brick industry associations.

 


 
Promoting energy efficiency in brick making in north-eastern India
A cluster-level meeting on ‘Energy efficiency improvements in the brick industry’ was organized in Agartala, Tripura on 18 June 2010 by TERI and Tripura State Council of Science and Technology (TSCST) under the UNDP–GEF project, which aims to increase energy efficiency in the Indian brick industry. TERI is a ‘Responsible Partner’ for implementing the project, and TSCST is the local resource centre (LRC) for the northeastern region. The event was attended by about 30 brick entrepreneurs from the region. The meeting was chaired by Mr Joy Gobinda Debray, Minister of Science, Technology, and Environment (STE), Government of Tripura, and Mr Sriram Taranikanti, Commissioner and Secretary, STE was the special guest.

TERI highlighted the difficulties faced by the traditional brick kiln units, which continue to depend on largely manual technologies to make resource-intensive fireclay bricks, even as skilled labour is becoming scarce. In this situation, there is a need as well as an opportunity for brick entrepreneurs to switch over to making REBs, which offer numerous benefits in the form of energy savings of up to 20%, reduced consumption of topsoil (about 30%), superior quality of fired products, reduction in construction costs (5%–7%), and reduced cooling/heating load requirements (close to 5%).

Under the project, TERI could assist entrepreneurs in switching over to REB production by facilitating demonstrations of REB technology, building capacities of workers/ operators in the new technologies, developing linkages with banks and other financial institutions, and creating and expanding markets for the new/improved products.

Mr Bijan Saha, Branch Manager, North Eastern Development Finance Corporation (NEDFI) described the range of financial services offered by NEDFI to support the expansion, modernization, and diversification of existing SME units as well as to fund new projects. Notably, NEDFI provides financial support for exposure visits and skills upgradation under its ‘Scheme for development of entrepreneurial skills and market for North East products’.

Mr A K Bannerjee of Walter Craven Ceramic Products Ltd, Kolkata—a leading supplier of REB technology—spoke on various machineries and equipment used in REB manufacture. He further elaborated on the characteristics and applications of different REB products. The event concluded with a lively discussion among the participants on various aspects of REB technology and the opportunities that exist for entrepreneurs in the North East.