Utilization of Fly-ash by brick manufactures - Environmental Costs Vs Benefits
Project Team: Dr. Vinish Kathuria (Principal Investigator), Mr. Natarajamurthy.
Time Period: 2004 - 2005
Project Summary:
  • To find the environmental cost of the avoided top-soil use if brick manufacturers use fly ash 
  • To compute the transportation cost incurred by brick manufacturers in carrying the fly ash from thermal power plants to their respective units
  • To suggest possible instruments that can be applied so as to promote the use of fly ash in brick making

Conceptual Framework

The brick manufacturing typically uses top soil and hence there is a significant environmental cost associated with the brick manufacturing. On the other hand the thermal power plants release large amount of fly ash which also poses significant environmental cost in the form of destroying the top soil. The win-win strategy therefore is to explore the possibility of using fly ash for brick manufacturing. Despite wide-spread evidence on the desirability and feasibility of such strategy, there are concerns especially regarding the net benefits of the same. The study demonstrates, through case study and using cost-benefit analysis, that barring administrative and managerial issues, the benefits outweigh the costs. 


  • Regulate the transfer of land from agriculture to brick making
  • Tackle the problem of steady supply of uniform quality fly ash as the quality of fly ash various across power plants depending upon the type and source of coal, boiler efficiency, collection efficiency, etc
  • Re-look at the prevailing royalty rates for brick earth excavation, which are not only low but also a poor reflection of the resource value of soil
  • Measures to facilitate faster use of fly-ash
    • Adding clay-fly ash bricks in the common schedule rates
    • Compulsory use of clay-fly ash bricks in government works
    • Power connection to clay-fly ash brick manufacturers on priority basis
    • Availability of fly ash at a site nearer to the cluster of brick manufacturers

A monograph titled - ‘Utilization of Fly ash by Brick Manufacturers – Environmental costs Vs Benefits’ – (authored by Dr. Vinish Kathuria) was submitted to the Ministry of Environment and Forest (2005).