Reducing Air Pollution in Mexican Brick Kilns as a Mission
by Richard Kimura
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Jose Luis Orozco runs a successful carpentry shop and is favored by all 3 political parties to be elected as a regional or county governor of a newly re-formed area that includes the city of San Ignacio, Jalisco, Mexico. He attends the Arandas Baptist Church and has a passion for improving the life of people in his region. We are interested in partnering with him in the endeavor to improve the air quality there. Data and local Jalisco brickmaking processes were examined during March 2006.
Jose Luis has a great vision to improve the quality of lives in the Los Altos area and has asked for our engineering help. A major business in the area is brickmaking. This is due to availability of key materials such as red clay, agave cactus waste, manure, wood and spent-motor oil, and cheap labor. Green, or unfired bricks are formed from a slurry of clay, manure and agave waste, and water, poured into molds, and dried. Once dry they are stacked into large piles, forming a kiln, the bricks are ignited using wood or used motor oil. The entire structure literally burns, as the organic material is consumed within the brick, leaving a porous, light, and structurally hard ceramic brick.
Unfortunately, states Jose Luis, the brick kilns generate large amounts of toxic smoke, which drifts across the city of San Ignacio 24 hrs/day. The kilns are reduced during the week since children are in school, but on the weekends the smoke is even works as many more fire up. He estimates that there are over 300 kilns burning at any given time. with about 40,000 bricks per kiln. These kilns surround the city of San Ignacio upwind of the prevailing winds due the location of hardwood in the local Cerro Gordo mountains. These local kilns, he estimates, produce about 3,000,000 bricks per week for the region. The housing industry in the entire region of Los Altos is based largely on use of these brick for construction. Most towns in Los Altos are beneficiaries of the brickmaking from San Ignacio and surrounding area, and include Arandas, Atotonilco, Encarnacion de Diaz, San Julian. San Miguel uses some brick but also uses a stone quarries.
Separately, it has been determined that Mexico has a reported 15,000 - 20,000 brick kilns burning at any given time, leading to pollution coming into the United States, as documented in areas near Cuidad Juarez.
It is believed that entrepreneurial U.S. engineers are best suited for causing broad environmental improvements, by working with passionate Mexican nationals, such as Jose Luis Orozco, and would be able to bless the people by providing for the needs they have in this area. Freely giving such technical support will yield long-term benefits of fresh air to people across the city, and would serve as a model for developments in other similar cities. Local craftsmen and engineers would be hired to guide the design, build, and operations technical support aspects. Profit-making is not out of the question.
An LLC run by people of the same vision could serve as a vehicle for funding of the feasibility studies, test kilns, and local support to gain political and public support for such environmental and health improvements. An economically affordable low-emission kiln is what is needed. The kiln, such as the Marquez kiln, would use bricks made locally, and only changes their process slightly, and only costs would be the bricks and labor to make such a kiln. Such a kiln can reduce air pollution by over 90%. The people living in towns such as San Ignacio would daily reap clean air and would also provide political support for rare visionaries who care, such Jose Luis Orozco.
About Rich Kimura:
Rich Kimura is a freelance writer, married father of 4, chemical engineer, and entrepreneur. He has authored numerous technical papers, has 1 patents and 2 patents-pending, and 24 years experience in the nuclear and chemical industries. Rich started 6 microbusinesses and teaches on the subject, and is Crown Financial trained. For more stories, tips, and experiences on home businesses, money, finances, relationships, spiritual topics, work, investments, micro-business, home businesses, family relationships, spiritual perspectives, and other topics, visit Cirrovista at http://www.cirrovista.com or, to see pictures on this particular mission trip go to http://www.cirrovista.com/creativity.html
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