Air emissions

We monitor our emissions of air pollutants in compliance with local regulatory requirements. Normally, the Group’s air separation plants hardly produce any direct emissions to the air. In other production processes, however, inorganic gases such as carbon monoxide (CO), sulphur oxides (SOx), nitrogen oxides (NOx), ammonia (NH3) and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are released as emissions into the air. VOC emissions are mainly released during the coating and cleaning of metals such as those found in gas cylinders, storage tanks and plant components.

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Emissions to air1 (in tonnes)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

   

2013

 

2012

 

2011

 

2010

Assured by KPMG

1

We monitor compliance with local regulatory requirements worldwide and report our data for all sites legally obliged to report emissions.

VOC (volatile organic compounds)

 

92

 

109

 

206

 

182

NH3 (ammonia)

 

9

 

11

 

28

 

70

CO (carbon monoxide)

 

1,520

 

2,895

 

1,566

 

1,747

NOx (nitrogen oxides)

 

5,222

 

5,556

 

1,070

 

717

SOx (sulphur oxides)

 

96

 

391

 

543

 

620

As a result of the first-time application of the revised accounting standards, the sites in the scope of our reporting changed in the 2013 financial year. Accordingly, the key financial, environmental and employee KPIs for 2012 were adjusted retrospectively. In addition, the KPIs for employees, occupational health and safety and environmental protection for the year 2012 were retrospectively adjusted to account for the effects of the acquisition of the US homecare company Lincare. To ensure that the figures for 2012 and 2013 can be compared, we reported the full year 2012 for Lincare.

The increase in nitrogen oxide emissions since 2011 is mainly due to changes in international accounting standards. These made adjustments in the number of reported sites necessary for 2013 and retrospectively for 2012. Joint ventures that had not been included in prior years have been included in the figures for those years. 

We work with our customers and partners to develop solutions to reduce emissions of pollutants into the air. In 2013, we developed a mobile system for the treatment of ship emissions, which was developed in cooperation with another company in 2013. The system makes it easier to clean vessels that carry chemicals. The process involves removing VOC vapours from exhaust gases using liquid nitrogen. This helps to improve the air quality around sea ports.