Water

Water

We work continuously to ensure the efficient use of water on our sites and the lowest possible level of emissions to water. We offer our customers products and technologies which can be used throughout the water cycle.

In 2014, we identified more than 20 projects that helped us to use water more efficiently and to cut costs by more than EUR 300,000. At two locations, one in the Czech Republic and the other in the Netherlands, we were able to optimise water flow and reduce water consumption by around 2.6 million cubic metres by using improved valves. In a long-term collaborative project in Europe, Linde experts in plant construction, water and water chemistry have joined forces to create an interdisciplinary network. The aim of this project is to optimise the use of water and cooling water systems. To achieve this aim, we have to date inspected 39 plants in the region to ensure sustainable use of water resources and we have implemented a number of improvements. The cost savings achieved so far already exceed the investment made in the project. Damage caused by limescale deposits is being reduced and the efficiency of the plants is being increased. We expect to achieve total cost savings of more than EUR 2 million by 2016 from this initiative. We will also provide our employees with training on the use of water resources.

Water
Water in the Linde Group (graphic)
1 More than 98% of the water used at Linde’s sites comes from surface water, sea water or ground water sources which do not meet drinking water quality standards. Less than 2% of the demand at Linde’s sites is covered by water which meets drinking water quality standards.
2 More than 93% of the water used in Linde’s processes is used for cooling purposes, including once-through cooling water and sea water. Less than 7% of the water used in Linde’s processes is consumed in the process or discharged into the sewerage system after use.
3 More than 95% of the water discharged is unpolluted cooling water which can be fed back into the water system without need for further treatment. Less than 5% of the discharged water is piped to a waste water treatment plant or facility: e.g. boiler blowdown, purge from cooling towers, and sanitary foul water.

Water use

More than 90 percent of the water used by Linde is needed for cooling processes. Most of this cooling water is simply heated and can subsequently be fed back into the water system without the need for further treatment. We take care to ensure that the temperature reached does not pose any risk to the surrounding ecosystem. We also use water in the manufacture of products, as a source of steam and in office buildings. In 2014, our water consumption was around 50.7 million cubic metres (2013: 44.5 million cubic metres). Total water use in 2014, including cooling water, was around 682 million cubic metres (2013: 681 million cubic metres). The slightly higher figure for 2014 was due to increased production. We use closed-loop systems as a means of reducing our water consumption, as these enable water to be used several times. Depending on the water quality and the equipment at the plants, only a small proportion of the water therefore needs to be replaced. In addition, some Linde sites reuse water from factories belonging to other organisations. In 2014, our sites reported that around 100,000 cubic metres of water was reused in production in this way.

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Emissions to water1 (in tonnes)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2014

 

2013

 

2012

 

2011

Geprüft von KPMG

Assured by KPMG

1

In 2014, we have developed a methodology to determine emissions to water (COD, BOD, nitrates, phosphates) for the Linde Group. This methodology is based on measurements and extrapolations. There are significant inherent limitations in this methodology, however full measurement of emissions to water at all Linde sites is not economically viable. The reported numbers of water emission performance indicators of the Linde Group therefore serve as an approximation to our emissions.

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.

Chemical oxygen demand (COD) Geprüft von KPMG

 

1,770

 

2,157

 

201

 

165

Biochemical oxygen demand (BOD) Geprüft von KPMG

 

195

 

163

 

97

 

38

Nitrates Geprüft von KPMG

 

56

 

89

 

52

 

61

Phosphates Geprüft von KPMG

 

2

 

3

 

4

 

3

Waste water

The amount of waste water produced at our locations worldwide in 2014 was around 13.2 million cubic metres (2013: 13.8 million cubic metres). We measure emissions of phosphates, nitrates and organic compounds to water in accordance with regulatory requirements. In 2014, we implemented a number of projects reducing the quantity of chemicals used in water treatment. A project launched in Romania, for example, enabled us to reduce the use of chemicals and to make cost savings in the reporting year of around EUR 150,000.

In addition, we conducted an analysis in 2014 of the collection of key data relating to waste water. The aim of this analysis was to obtain more accurate information about the global environmental impact of our sites.

Water products

Linde gases help to identify and eliminate harmful substances in drinking water, bodies of water and swimming pools. The gases allow raw materials to be reused, thereby conserving natural resources. Our environmental solutions support all industrial waste water treatment processes and enable companies to comply with stricter environmental regulations.

Through the Solvocarb® process from Linde already installed by customers in Germany, for example, around 250 million cubic metres of water were brought up to drinking water quality in 2014. During the reporting year, our product development for water management focused on eliminating residues of medicinal products in customers’ waste water and sewage treatment plants.