Innovation

We continuously develop new application areas for our gases and improve our processes and plant technologies even further. In 2012, Linde spent a total of EUR 101 million on research and development (2011: EUR 98 million). The number of employees working in this field rose to 385 (2011: 342). The Group filed 269 new patents worldwide during the year under review (2011: 235), leaving Linde technologies protected by a total of 2,513 patents at the end of 2012.

2,513 patents protect Linde technologies

We develop new applications in the context of business orders and therefore work closely with the respective customers, taking their concrete needs into account. Our research activities have a particular focus on the environmental impact of production processes. Here, we concentrate on making technical processes and plants more energy-efficient and reducing emissions – in our own and our customers’ manufacturing processes. In 2012, for instance, Linde developed a process for reducing emissions of environmentally harmful nitrogen oxides during glass manufacturing. To advance the transition towards climate-friendly energy supplies and mobility options, we are researching processes to generate hydrogen or green fuel from renewable raw materials. Linde is working with an industry partner to test a technology that converts a broad spectrum of biogenic raw materials into synthesis gas. The company has also made further improvements to the Carbo-V® technology. This process converts wood and wood biomass, which can already be obtained in a way that conserves resources and does not compete with food production, into biofuels, such as biodiesel.

Research and development

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2012

 

2011

 

2010

 

2009

Research and development expenses

€ million

 

101

 

98

 

94

 

89

New patents filed

 

 

269

 

235

 

232

 

230

In China, Linde advanced the installation of a metal and glass research centre during the reporting year. Meanwhile, in Norway, we opened our own research and innovation centre devoted to the long-term optimisation of oxygen supplies for fish farms.

We also intensified our activities in the central Clean Energy Group in 2012. This team, which operates across different business areas, develops innovative products and processes that help to make renewable energies economically viable, reduce the consumption of natural resources and cut emissions that are harmful to the climate.

140award winners in the Linde Innovators Club

At Linde, we systematically promote a culture of creativity and innovation. In 2012, Linde gave the Linde Group Patent & Innovation Award to the best innovations for the seventh time. In this way, we recognised the best patents registered during the year in each of the following categories: technological invention, commercial invention and Group innovation. The award-winning patent applications are often directly linked to environmental and climate protection. Examples include innovations in the field of renewable energy as well as new technologies to increase plant efficiency. The winners of this award join the Linde Innovators Club, which now has around 140 members.

To heighten employee awareness of the crucial importance of innovation, 2012 saw the staging of the first Linde Technology Day. As part of this event, a new career model for employees working in research and development was unveiled. This aims to promote innovative approaches and ensure even greater reward for outstanding performance.

> More on innovation in our annual report

Responsibility along the value chain

Highlighted: areas in the value chain connected to the topics covered on this page