Articles | Volume 18, issue 8
Atmos. Chem. Phys., 18, 6023–6037, 2018
Atmos. Chem. Phys., 18, 6023–6037, 2018

Research article 27 Apr 2018

Research article | 27 Apr 2018

Black carbon, organic carbon, and co-pollutant emissions and energy efficiency from artisanal brick production in Mexico

Miguel Zavala1, Luisa T. Molina1, Pablo Maiz2, Israel Monsivais2, Judith C. Chow3, John G. Watson3, Jose Luis Munguia4, Beatriz Cardenas5, Edward C. Fortner6, Scott C. Herndon6, Joseph R. Roscioli6, Charles E. Kolb6, and Walter B. Knighton7 Miguel Zavala et al.
  • 1Molina Center for Energy and the Environment, La Jolla, CA 92037, USA
  • 2GAMATEK, Monterrey, Nuevo Leon, Mexico
  • 3Desert Research Institute, Las Vegas, NV 89119, USA
  • 4Universidad Autónoma Metropolitana, Mexico City, Mexico
  • 5Secretaria del Medio Ambiente, Mexico City, Mexico
  • 6Aerodyne Research, Inc., Billerica, MA 01821, USA
  • 7Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, Montana State University, MT 59717, USA

Abstract. In many parts of the developing world and economies in transition, small-scale traditional brick kilns are a notorious source of urban air pollution. Many are both energy inefficient and burn highly polluting fuels that emit significant levels of black carbon (BC), organic carbon (OC) and other atmospheric pollutants into local communities, resulting in severe health and environmental impacts. However, only a very limited number of studies are available on the emission characteristics of brick kilns; thus, there is a need to characterize their gaseous and particulate matter (PM) emission factors to better assess their overall contribution to emissions inventories and to quantify their ecological, human health, and climate impacts. In this study, the fuel-, energy-, and brick-based emissions factors and time-based emission ratios of BC, OC, inorganic PM components, CO, SO2, CH4, NOx, and selected volatile organic compounds (VOCs) from three artisanal brick kilns with different designs in Mexico were quantified using the tracer ratio sampling technique. Simultaneous measurements of PM components, CO, and CO2 were also obtained using a sampling probe technique. Additional measurements included the internal temperature of the brick kilns, mechanical resistance of bricks produced, and characteristics of fuels employed. Average fuel-based BC emission factors ranged from 0.15 to 0.58 g (kg fuel)−1, whereas BC∕OC mass ratios ranged from 0.9 to 5.2, depending on the kiln type. The results show that both techniques capture similar temporal profiles of the brick kiln emissions and produce comparable emission factors. A more integrated inter-comparison of the brick kilns' performances was obtained by simultaneously assessing emissions factors, energy efficiency, fuel consumption, and the quality of the bricks produced.

Short summary
Black carbon, organic carbon, and co-pollutant emissions and energy efficiency from two traditional brick kilns and one MK2 kiln in Mexico were quantified using tracer ratio and sampling probe techniques. Both techniques captured similar temporal profiles of the kiln emissions and produced comparable emission factors; the MK2 generated lower emissions and higher energy efficiency. This study contributes to the limited database of brick production emissions useful for assessing their impact.
Final-revised paper