Gas Tunnel Kiln Revitalizes Bat Trang Ceramic Village

Bat Trang Ceramic Village, which is located near the Red River, is famous for its various types of unique and beautiful ceramic and porcelain products. The village brings pride to Hanoians and is an attractive destination for domestic and foreign visitors. After transitioning from using traditional coal tunnel kilns to energy efficient gas tunnel kilns, the village has traded its dusty, polluted past for a cleaner future.




 A 3,5m3 gas tunnel kiln costs over VND120 million to install.

According to Nguyen Trong Thu, the secretary general of the Bat Trang Ceramics Association, there used to be about 700 traditional coal kilns that were in continuous operation, which caused serious environment pollution. These kilns also released industrial solid waste into the air, which damaged trees, buildings, and caused an increase in the number of health problems including cancer and respiratory diseases. The Association’s statistics show that one out of five villagers on average contracted diseases caused by the exhaust from coal kilns.




In such context, the use of gas tunnel kilns has revitalized Bat Trang, gradually helped reduce environment pollution, increased the product quality and brought economic benefits to the people. The emission of coal smoke, fly ash and slag or waste products in different sizes is gradually minimized to replace by a fresh and healthy environment, which prepares for the development of this trade village on its way to the global economy integration.



 A shift in traditional production method



Following the National Program for Energy Efficiency and Conservation, since 2002, the People’s Committee of Bat Trang has cooperated with the Bat Trang Ceramics Association in encouraging people to use gas tunnel kilns. Since 2003, with the implementation the project “Vietnam: Promoting Energy Conservation in Small and Medium Scale Enterprises (PECSME)” under the association of the Ministry of Science and Technology, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Global Environment Facility (GEF), the use of gas kilns is getting  more popular in the village.




Gas tunnel kiln can reduce production cost by 30% and save 3000 TOE annually.

Nguyen Ba Vinh, the project manager of PECSME, said that there have been nearly 100 programs for the project, “Strengthening the Use of Energy Saving Gas Ceramic Tunnels,” that have been put into effect in Bat Trang village. In addition, 28 households in this village have been given loans to purchase energy saving gas tunnel kilns. With aid provided by the Japanese International Cooperation Agency (JAICA), this project looks promising, and hopes to abolish the use of coal kilns and promote the employment of gas kiln in the near future.




Since being applied in Bat Trang, the gas kiln technology has received positive feedback from people because the device is simple and easy to use. It is designed with the number of rail track ranging from one to three tracks. In the cooling stage, the stack cover closes and all gas burners stop working so that the product can be cooled physically in the kiln. When the inner temperature reaches 100-20000 C, the kiln door is opened, the carrier with baked product is taken out and the process continues with the following carrier. By doing that, the residual heat in the kiln can be utilized for the succeeding carrier and different types of item can be fired simultaneously. The gas tunnel kiln can be used to fire various kinds of ceramic wares, and it is easy to adjust the temperature (from 1,600-18,000 oC) in order to create desired products. With a compact design, this kiln can be used in factories and it will not harm workers’ health.




Economical, environmentally sound and profitable




The director of Bat Trang Ceramic Design and Production Joint Stock Company, Le Duc Trong said that the gas tunnel kiln can help the company cut 30 percent of its production cost, reduce more than 12,000 tonnes of CO2 emission, save about 3,000 tonnes of oil equivalent (TOE) annually. The new kilns could also help raise the company’s profit by two or threefold. These new devices also boosts production efficiency by 20 to 30 percent.




In 2008, Nguyen Thi Thuy (in Hamlet 2, Bat Trang village) spent VND1 billion, of which VND500 million was provided by PECSME, in order to install gas tunnel kilns and improve the facility. Thuy said that even when her factory used three coal kilns continuously, they still found it difficult to have an adequate supply of energy for big orders. It often took three to five days to finish a production process; therefore, the products were hardly delivered in time or broke. However, since using gas kilns, her factory can complete a production process within one day and the number of qualified products has increased to more than 95 percent. Ms. Thuy happily said, “Although I had to spend a considerable amount of money at first, I can quickly recover capital within two years with favorable output conditions.”   




Another factory owner (in Hamlet 4, Giang Cao village, Bat Trang commune) said: “Recognizing the great benefit of using ceramic gas kiln and with the loan given by the PECSME, we decided to invest into building gas kiln with the total capacity of 7cu.m. The kiln has proved its feasibility of environment protection and economic efficiency in saving fuel, manpower and time. The health of all members in our family and factory now can be protected from respiratory diseases”.




The ceramic gas kiln is a lifebuoy for Bat Trang village. With this advanced technology, the village is now more competitive in production and will be better able to promote tourism.



Hung Linh

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