Messer is working to minimise the carbon footprint of its customers, as well as its own.
In addition to constantly monitoring and improving its direct impact on the production of greenhouse gases, Messer is focusing on the implementation of technologies that can make its customer processes more environmentally friendly.
According to The Messer Group’s publication, On Air, the company has set new targets which will see it working towards cutting back emissions further, but also, new efforts are being made to have an impact on emissions, even if they are not directly caused by the company.
The carbon footprint is a measure of the impact human activity has on the environment in terms of the amount of greenhouse gases produced; it is converted to the emission of carbon dioxide, and therefore measured as tonnes of CO2 equivalent (tonnes of CO2e).
According to On Air, a large percentage of CO2 emissions in the industrial gas industry are produced as a result of the purchase of electricity for the production of oxygen, nitrogen and argon in the air separators.
Messer has announced that targets are in place to reduce these emissions, with a view to achieving a 7% reduction in the average specific energy consumption of its air separation plants in Europe, as well as increasing the transported tonnes of a delivered product per kilometer travelled.
More indirectly, Messer is working towards developing new technologies to reduce the carbon footprint of its customers, Tim Evison, Vice President of Business Development and Strategic Marketing for the Messer Group said, “We are trying to substantially reduce our customers’ emissions.”
One of Messer’s most recent installations, has been an application at Seidel in Deutschlandsberg, Austria, which reduces the amount of energy required for evaporation.
Seidel manufactures electronic printed circuit boards; the company requires around a million cubic metres of nitrogen a year for inerting of its soldering systems, which is supplied in cryogenically liquefied form by Messer.
When the nitrogen is released from the storage tank, it flows through a finned tube heat exchanger, which helps to heat it up, through the heat of the ambient air, and converts it into the gaseous state.
Since the heat for this comes from the environment, no additional energy is required for evaporation; however, considered the other way round, the cold content of the liquid nitrogen has been needlessly lost to the environment.
Since the customers’ soldering systems require cooling brine, which is prepared with an electrically powered refrigerating machine, Messer came up with the idea of generating the necessary energy for nitrogen evaporation from the refrigerating system’s brine circulation, using a special heat exchanger.
Using the Cryocontrol heat exchanger developed by Messer, the cooling brine can be continuously cooled without freezing, in spite of the nitrogen’s evaporation temperature of minus 196˚c.
This process benefits the customer, who saves around 40,000 kilowatt hours of electrical energy per year, and Messer, who no longer has to install the finned tube heat exchanger, but the biggest winner is the environment, as this process results in a 25 tonne annual reduction in CO2 emissions.
Another of Messer’s ingenious inventions is the DuoCondex process.
Many industrial processes produce gaseous or vaporous pollutants, however, these can be condensed through cooling with cryogenic liquefied nitrogen – the gases or vapours are liquefied and captured and therefore do not get into the atmosphere.
The DuoCondex process facilitates this kind of condensation at temperatures down to -160˚c, with a recovery rate, in most cases, of 99.9%.
This technology from Messer is used in the recycling of more than a million cooling appliances a year.
In this process, the propellants (CFCs) contained in the insulating foam of the appliances are released, then liquefied in the DuoCondex units and rendered harmless.
Again, benefits to the environment are substantial, as the recovery prevents around 1,000 tonnes a year of ozone depleting substances from being released into the atmosphere, with a global warming potential of 500,000 tonnes of CO2 equivalent.
Messer’s mission statement reads, “As a member of the worldwide community, we are committed to protecting the environment”; this commitment is demonstrated through the company’s continuous efforts to reduce its own CO2 emissions, and those of its customers.