Improved kiln designs launched

Kathmandu, October 1

Minister for Industry Mahesh Basnet released the ‘Design Manual for Improved Fixed Chimney Zig-Zag Brick Kilns’ amid a gathering of government officials, development agencies, and brick entrepreneurs from the Kathmandu Valley in the capital yesterday.

The International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development, Federation of Nepal Brick Industries, and the Ministry of Energy jointly launched the design manual to support the construction of improved brick kilns in Nepal. The manual, which was prepared with inputs 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, ICIMOD informed.

“I am very positive towards the reconstruction of these brick kilns with a better design. The Ministry of Industry will always seek to play a key role in the modernisation of brick kilns,” Basnet said after launching the manual.

In the past, a majority of Nepal’s brick kilns were constructed in a rudimentary style without consideration of environmental or structural and engineering aspects, which is one reason why many of the kilns did not withstand the impact of the 7.8 magnitude earthquake on April 25. The earthquake resulted in damage worth more than Rs 1.26 billion to the brick industry.

This also presented the brick industry with an opportunity to promote a cleaner brick kiln designs that would reduce the emission of harmful air pollutants and improve fuel efficiency.

“With this improved brick kiln designs, Nepal’s brick industry can reduce its coal consumption by up to 30 per cent, which will result in cleaner air in the 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 kiln designs, while two supplementary documents provide drawings and construction guidelines. “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 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.