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Brick Kiln Intervention Trial

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Left: Intermittent fuel feeding by 2 or 3 firemen in a kiln in Bangladesh.
Right: Continuous fuel feeding by a single fireman.
Reducing Heat Loss:
Left: Uninsulated and insulated shunts.
Right: Insulated fuel feed hole covers (porthole covers).
Top: Dense single zig-zag brick stacking.
Bottom Left: Less dense double/triple zigzag [kiln] brick setting:
openings for air passage are provided on the left and right ends alternately in subsequent chambers to cause zigzag air flow.
Middle and Right: Less dense brick stacking.

Brick Kiln Intervention Trial: Clean Air and Better Health in Bangladesh



Summary: To achieve the goal of decreasing air pollution, the intervention consists of (1) imparting technical knowledge to Kiln Owners, Managers and Workers on the matters of:  kiln-design (feeding coal continuously into the kiln, to increase combustion of coal) and brick-setting (determining the optimal spacing for brick-placement in kilns) and building up a thicker ash-layer; and (2) providing worker-incentive messages to the Kiln Owners/Managers (e.g. increased food, extra salary and bonuses, better accommodations, provision of shaded areas for resting).

1. Accumulate practical experience implementing the interventions.
2. Identify approaches to achieve high uptake of the intervention.
3. Identify implementation challenges.
4. Pilot data collection and analysis of key outcomes on energy efficiency, value of production, and brick quality.
5. Collect feedback from owners, managers, and workers on how to further improve the intervention.



Rather than solely promoting expensive modern kilns, a strategy that has failed over the past 30 years, we aim to improve the practices of current brick manufacturers. Since 2013 the Government of Bangladesh has promoted zigzag kilns (ZZK). Although take-up of the ZZK has been slow, they now comprise about 70% of the industry. A properly constructed and operated ZZK can reduce black carbon by 41%, CO2 by 21%, and PM2.5 by 80%. However, most conversions to ZZKs in Bangladesh have been poorly implemented. Consequently, the new ZZK appear to be just as polluting as the older style they replaced. Our study of kiln owners suggests a puzzle: a correctly built and operated ZZK can increase kiln profits, yet these gains are not realized by owners with poorly constructed and operated kilns. Our preliminary work suggests two primary barriers to effective implementation: (1) lack of knowledge of the specific interventions and their true economic return and (2) inattention to the incentives of workers whose cooperation is crucial to running an efficient kiln. We will address these barriers through a randomized intervention that provides (1) extensive information, training, and technical support on low-cost improvements and (2) information and encouragement to kiln owners to adopt strategies that incentivize workers to adopt the new practices. Kiln owners from our pilot study who successfully adopted the improvements and motivated workers will participate in the trainings and provide testimonials from their own experience to improve the credibility of the intervention.


Project Dates



Stage of Work

Completed:  The Pilot stage (implementing, assessing and iterating the intervention). 

Almost completed: Rigorous testing on 300 kilns in 5 districts (Jessore, Khulna, Kushtia, Chuadanga, Narail), and on scaling up the interventions. 

Upcoming: Collection of end-line survey data.  Dissemination Workshop in Dhaka, Bangladesh is planned for August 2023.



Primary Contact:  Moogdho Mahzab

Stanford University

.   Stephen Luby

.   Grant Miller

.   Moogdho Mahzab

.   Nina Brooks

Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology (BUET)

.  Prof. Shoeb Ahmed (Dept. of Chemical Engineering)


.   Mahbub Rahman

.   Debashish Biswas

Greentech Knowledge Solutions Pvt. Ltd. (India)

.   Dr. Sameer Maithel



Stanford Impact Labs

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL) King Climate Action Initiative (King-CAI)