Moving over from conventional methods, the brick manufacturers of Saurashtra and Kutch are preparing to tune into new technology. With the support of The Energy Resources Institute (TERI) and the Central government, brick producers of the region are planning technological upgradation at their units.
So far, the industry has been using waste coal and dung cake as fuel, causing pollution due to the hand moulding method. Brick manufacturers in the region are now looking to introduce such ‘resource efficient bricks’ (REBs) as hollow blocks, perforated bricks and fly ash bricks, using mechanised and semi-mechanised processes.
REBs are products that consume less energy and resources than traditional fired clay bricks, and also have better quality and insulation properties.
“The idea is to control pollution caused by conventional methods. Moreover, recently a delegation of TERI visited Rajkot and met several brick producers to examine the manufacturing process. Brick producers also evinced interest in adopting new technology, which will help solve many of our problems, including availability of clay. We have to be tech savvy as this is the future,” said Chandubhai Jhadhav, general secretary of the Saurashtra Kutch Bricks Association.
About 8,000 brick manufacturing units are active in the Saurashtra and Kutch, employing over 200,000 people. The industry produces nearly seven billion bricks per annum and is growing at a rate of four per cent annually.
According to Jhadhav, two units in Rajkot have already started using the new technology to make bricks.
“Use of obsolete technologies and use of solid bricks made through traditional practices are seen as major threats to the Indian brick industry. Under the business-as-usual scenario, the Indian brick industry will continue to operate with traditional technologies and practices, which are poor in energy-efficiency and environmental performance as well as resource-intensive,” said a TERI official.
The project preparatory phase clearly indicated several opportunities in the Indian brick industry to improve resource efficiencies and promote production of resource-efficient bricks like perforated bricks, hollow blocks and fly ash bricks.
This will require significant changes and upgradation in existing brick-making processes, for which ready-made solutions are not available.
According to TERI, in order to implement this project and reach out to various regions and brick clusters, the project has set up local resource centres (LRCs) in different regions of the country.
The goal of the project is to reduce energy consumption by creating appropriate infrastructure for sustained adoption of new and improved technologies for production and use of resource-efficient bricks in India.