Continuing to encourage innovation and creativity in the field of industrial gases, Messer recently awarded cash prizes worth a total of €24,000 to innovative, trend-setting ideas submitted by staff members.

For the first time, the privately managed company restricted the competition, which was established 11 years ago as the only innovation prize within the gas sector, exclusively to its own staff.

The prize was first presented in 1998 on the company's 100th anniversary; the second and third presentations then took place in 2000 and 2004 respectively.

The majority of the more than 40 submissions focused on gas applications intended to minimise environmental harm and permit a recycling of raw materials through a use of gases.

In particular, the properties of nitrogen and oxygen as atmospheric components, as well carbonic acid as a substitute for mineral acids such as hydrochloric acid, were focused on to improve the environmental balance of many production processes.

Prizes also went to proposals for gas-related products and services, while all submitted ideas have one thing in common: they are new and readily applicable. Messer notes that it will place due emphasis on pursuing their realisation and obtaining patents wherever necessary.