Innovation

Innovation

Innovation

More than

300

patents

in the sector chemicals and environment and in hydrogen technology

50%

of research projects

with an environmental benefit

2,783

patents

for Linde technologies

106 million

euro

invested in research and development

In 2014, we spent a total of EUR 106 million on research and development (2013: EUR 92 million). As of 31 December 2014, 390 employees were working in this field (2013: 367). To protect our innovations, we filed 260 new patents across the Group over the course of the reporting year. As at 31 December 2014, Linde technologies were protected by a total of 2,783 patents, of which many address sustainability issues. More than 300 patents were in the key chemical and environmental sectors as well as in hydrogen technology.

We are always moving into new application areas for our gases, based on the findings of our pure research. At the same time, we are constantly striving to make further improvements in our processes and plant technologies. We develop applications in the context of commissions which involves close liaison with our customers, taking into account their individual requirements. We pay particular attention to the environmental compatibility of our production processes. To achieve these goals, we combine the skills in our Gases Division with those in our Engineering Division, whilst also involving leading institutions and companies in various cooperation projects. We focus here in particular on the use of hydrogen as a fuel and its environmentally friendly production, large-scale energy storage, and the conversion of biomass into fuels or into basic materials for use in the chemical industry. Around 50 percent of our research projects in 2014 also aimed to have an environmental benefit.

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Research and development

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2014

 

2013

 

2012

 

2011

Expenditure for research and development (in € million)

 

106

 

92

 

101

 

98

Employees in the research and development field

 

390

 

367

 

385

 

342

New patents filed

 

260

 

263

 

269

 

235

The continuing increase in the amount of electricity derived from renewable sources means that new solutions for large-scale storage are needed. Linde is involved in various projects in this area, including activities at the Mainz Energy Park in Germany: Working with partners from the energy industry and a number of research institutes, we will be trialling processes for the production, storage, use and feed-in to the natural gas network of hydrogen from renewable electricity from 2015 onwards.

In the Engineering Division, the money spent on research and development was primarily allocated in 2014, as in previous years, to the development of new and existing technologies in the product lines of natural gas plants, air separation plants, olefin plants and hydrogen and synthesis gas plants. We are always looking for ways to make further improvements in the energy efficiency and environmental credentials of our plants. We also succeeded during the reporting year in transferring the development of an improved steam reformer process for producing synthesis gas to the pilot phase. Much less steam is required in this process, which significantly increases energy efficiency. Moreover, in certain specific applications, CO2 can be produced as an additional feedstock, which has a positive impact on the environmental balance sheet.