Bangladesh has started making bricks using new technology, which cuts carbon emission almost by half and creates scope for earning huge foreign currencies.
Entrepreneurs and financiers said Bangladesh will be able to sell per tonne of saved carbon at $15 after June 2010.
Diamond Auto Bricks at Aduria Saughat in Narayanganj has set up such a brick kiln.
On a visit, it was found that black fumes were coming out from the pipes of nearby brickfields, while Diamond Auto was making bricks without any black fumes seen around.
The new technology being used by Diamond Auto and the likes is Hybrid Hoffman Kiln (HHK) technology imported from China.
A single kiln that runs on HHK technology will produce 15 million bricks and cut carbon emission by 5,000 tonnes a year. A double unit kiln will produce 30 million bricks and cut carbon dioxide (CO2) emission by 10,000 tonnes every year.
Industrial and Infrastructure Development Finance Company Ltd (IIDFC) has so far funded four brick manufacturing units including Diamond Auto Bricks under the technology.
Bangladesh has about 6,000 authorised brickfields and numerous illegal ones.
IIFDC Project Officer Shaymal Barman told The Daily Star that the brickfields in Bangladesh emit around 875 lakh tonnes of CO2 every year.
Barman said HHK kilns will reduce carbon emission almost by half.
Most of the works at Diamond Auto are done without human intervention. Coal and clay are mixed automatically and then poured into a machine. In every piece of brick about 2-3 percent coal is mixed. Bricks are prepared automatically and taken to a silo, and smoke of the kiln, which others use for burning bricks, is used for drying the raw bricks.
Owner of the brickfield M Zaydul Abedin said: "The smoke produced in my kiln is being trapped and used for drying raw bricks. So less CO2 is emitted."
The strength of the bricks produced in this field is more than double than that of the traditional bricks, and the price is also competitive, said Abedin.
He said he gets Tk 6 per brick, whereas the traditional bricks sell at Tk 5.50-Tk 5.80.
However, the new technology is expensive. A single unit brickfield of modern technology needs around Tk 10 crore as against Tk one crore required for a traditional brickfield.
Managing Director of IIDFC Asaduzzaman Khan said the traditional brickfields cause a huge environmental pollution. Those units should be converted into new technology-based ones to decrease pollution.
Khan said if the Bangladesh Bank offers refinancing facility, the brick makers will get loan at lower interest and come forward to convert their traditional units.
He said: "The licence renewal process for the exiting fixed chimney kilns will come to an end on December 31, 2010, and the owners will have to go for clean technology-based brick manufacturing. This will require a huge investment and so the central bank should consider the need for a refinancing scheme."
Developed countries pollute the air by emitting the highest amount of CO2. In Kyoto Protocol in 1997 these countries were given a target for bringing down carbon emission by 5.2 percent on an average by 2012 over the level of 1990. But most of the developed countries have failed to reach the target.
The amount of carbon emission in least developed countries including Bangladesh is much lower. Last year about $80 billion changed hands globally through selling the points obtained through emitting less carbon. Bangladesh also can earn foreign currency through cutting carbon emission by the brickfields.
Khan said the World Bank has also agreed to sign an ERPA (Emission Reduction Purchase Agreement) with IIDFC on reporting the quantity of emission reduction, certification of emission reduction and receipt of bulk payment from the Carbon Fund for distributing to the various sub-project entities.
The management council on the UN Conference on Climate Change and a representative of Denmark have already visited the HHK brickfields and ensured 50 percent less emission of carbon by the units, he said.
The World Bank has also negotiated with IIFDC to purchase 1,89,000 tonnes of carbon saved though less emission.