New Eco-Friendly Brick Kilns Could Reduce Bangladesh's Emissions, Lower Air Pollution

bangladesh brick kiln photo

New kilns aim to reduce the sort of air pollution current kilns, above, are renowned for. Photo: Melanie Ko/Creative Commons

Bangladesh may already have very low per capita carbon emissions but that's far more to do with poverty and low resource consumption rather than the ubiquity of low-emitting, low-polluting technology. Some new eco-friendly brick kilns, introduced by the United Nations Development Programme and the Global Environment Facility aim to change that though.

Brick kilns? Yes, brick kilns. If you've been anywhere in South Asia you know the big smokestacks, charred black at the top from polluting smoke (black carbon soot emissions are a large part of the reason why Himalayan glaciers are melting, in addition to rising global temperatures). These new brick kilns, developed in Germany and known as Hybrid Hoffman Kilns, substitute for the old kilns.

UNDP points out that more than 90% of Bangladesh's bricks are made in these old kilns. That's over 7.75 billion bricks produced annually now, a figure that's rising at 5.28% a year. Currently this brick production is one of the largest sources of greenhouse gas emissions in the nation, about 6 million tons annually. By 2014 at current rates of growth, that would rise to 8.7 million tons.

Using these new kilns, for every 15 million bricks made, emissions can be reduced by 5,000 tons a year. The reason for the reduction, UNDP explains:

The secret to the Hybrid Hoffman Kiln's success is its ability to completely burn most of the fuel that is mixed into the bricks during firing, and thereby drastically reduce energy use and production costs. It also dries the bricks by directing hot air into the tunnel from the annular kiln, which blocks greenhouse gas emission.

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