Assessment of air pollutant emissions from brick kilns

Uma Rajarathnam, Vasudev Athalye, Santhosh Ragavan, Sameer Maithel, Dheeraj Lalchandani, Sonal Kumar, Ellen Baum, Cheryl Weyant, Tami Bond

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


India has more than 100,000 brick kilns producing around 250 billion bricks annually. Indian brick industry is often a small scale industry and third largest consumer of coal in the country. With the growing demand for building materials and characterised by lack of pollution control measures the brick industry has a potential to cause adverse effects on the environment. This paper presents assessment of five brick making technologies based on the measurements carried out at seventeen individual brick kilns. Emissions of PM, SO2, CO and CO2 were measured and these emissions were used to estimate the emission factors for comparing the emissions across different fuel or operating conditions. Estimated emission from brick kilns in South Asia are about 0.94 million tonnes of PM; 3.9 million tonnes of CO and 127 million tonnes of CO2 per year. Among various technologies that are widely used in India, Zig zag and vertical shaft brick kilns showed better performance in terms of emissions over the traditional fixed chimney Bull's trench kilns. This suggests that the replacement of traditional technologies with Zig zag, vertical shaft brick kilns or other cleaner kiln technologies will contribute towards improvements in the environmental performance of brick kiln industry in the country. Zig zag kilns appear to be the logical replacement because of low capital investment, easy integration with the existing production process, and the possibility of retrofitting fixed chimney Bull's trench kilns into Zig zag firing.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)549-553
Number of pages5
JournalAtmospheric Environment
StatePublished - Aug 29 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Air pollution
  • Brick kiln
  • Emission factor
  • Fixed chimney bull's trench kiln
  • Vertical shaft brick kiln
  • Zig zag kiln

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Science(all)
  • Atmospheric Science


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