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

More than 85 percent of our water requirement is used in cooling processes. Most of this cooling water is just 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. The rest of our water requirement is used in the manufacture of products, as a source of steam and in office buildings.

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 92 % of the water used in Linde’s processes is used for cooling purposes, including once-through cooling water and sea water. Less than 8 % 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.

Our total water use in 2015 was around 681 million cubic metres (2014: 682 million cubic metres). Of this, our water consumption, excluding once-through water, was around 52.8 million cubic metres (2014: 50.7 million cubic metres). We use closed-loop systems as a means of reducing our water consumption, as these enable water to be used several times. The amount of waste water reported at our locations worldwide in 2015 was around 14.0 million cubic metres (2014: 13.2 million cubic metres). In accordance with the regulatory requirements on site, we measure emissions of phosphates, nitrates and organic compounds to water.

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Emissions to water1 (in tonnes)



















Geprüft von KPMG

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In 2015, we have further improved the determination method for emissions to water (COD, BOD, nitrates, phosphates) applying measurement and extrapolation models. Although there are inherent limitations by applying this methodology, full measurement of these emissions by all Linde sites is considered economically not viable. The reported figures of the water emission indicators of the Linde Group therefore serve as an approximation. The figures for 2014 have been restated accordingly.

As a result of the 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









Biochemical oxygen demand (BOD)Geprüft von KPMG









NitratesGeprüft von KPMG









PhosphatesGeprüft von KPMG









Initiatives for efficient use of water

In 2015, we reviewed water supplies at our key production sites worldwide. Just under one fifth of these sites are in regions which experience water stress or water scarcity according to the definition of the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD). In Europe, Linde experts in plant construction, water and water chemistry joined forces in 2014 to create an interdisciplinary network. The aim of this project is to optimise the use of water and cooling water systems. Since the beginning of the project, we have inspected 39 plants at 19 locations in the region and we have implemented a number of improvements. In two air separation plants, the quantity of water and waste water being processed has been reduced by 13,000 cubic metres per annum as a result of optimising cooling circuits, equivalent to cost savings of around EUR 15,000. We expect this initiative to produce total cost savings of over EUR 2 m between 2014 and 2016. The cost savings achieved so far have already exceeded the investment made in the project. In the course of 2015, we also delivered training to 50 employees in Europe on topics such as saving water, water treatment and handling claims. We want to expand this programme over the coming years.

We also offer our water management expertise to our customers. In 2015, we launched an initiative which analyses the entire water circuit in customers’ new plants. The main aim is to use fresh water in a way which is resource-efficient in regions with water scarcity and to recycle the waste water produced. We are working together with universities and other partners on research into new methods of water processing which will reduce the use of chemicals when waste water is treated.

Products for water protection

Our gases and technologies are used to eliminate harmful substances in drinking water and bodies of water and also help to treat waste water. This also enables us to support industrial customers in meeting stricter environmental regulations. Around 750 million cubic metres of water, for example, was brought up to drinking water quality in 2015 in just six countries using the Linde Solvocarb® process installed by our customers. After a major fire in 2015 in a fertiliser warehouse in southern Germany, our Solvox® process helped to reduce the concentration of ammonium nitrate in a river to such an extent that the fish deaths feared were prevented. The process is also used successfully in river desalination.