How water treatment adresses climate change

Climate change exacerbates water scarcity. Untreated wastewater emits greenhouse gases. These are just some of the ways in which water and climate change are inextricably linked.

Water should remain in a reutilization cycle

Agriculture, industry and a growing world population: These all require water and contribute to the overuse of available water resources. The United Nations is convinced that improved water management and recycling of wastewater are today’s priorities.


The reasons:

  • Across the world, more than 80 percent of all wastewater is released untreated into the environment.
  • Wastewater causes methane and nitrous oxide emissions, which are more harmful to the climate than CO2.
  • Contaminated water makes the shortage of drinking water worse and harms agriculture.
Climate change makes effective action increasingly urgent.
"We cannot afford to wait", says the United Nations on World Water Day.
  • Extreme weather is making water scarce or completely unavailable.
  • Rising sea levels are contaminating fields, wells and groundwater with salt.
  • Every responsible individual and organization must do more to protect water and halt climate change.

Climate and water are high on our agenda

LANXESS is committed to the Paris Climate Protection Conference goal of limiting global warming to less than 2° Celsius. Since our founding in 2004, we have halved our emissions – from 6.5 million metric tons of CO2 equivalents to 3.2 million. We are now undertaking the second step: LANXESS will become climate-neutral until 2040.

Climate neutrality: Implementation underway

When buying and selling business assets, we consider the climate effects of these strategic decisions. For example, LANXESS divested its contaminating chrome chemicals division at the beginning of 2020.

Also, on the agenda:

  • At the beginning of 2021, we started up a plant to neutralize climate-damaging nitrous oxide (N2O) at our Antwerp site. This will mean 150,000 metric tons of CO2 equivalents (CO2e) less per year.
  • In 2023, our already very sophisticated installation in Antwerp will be expanded, resulting in 300,000 fewer tons of CO2e produced per year.
  • By 2023, the Nagda and Jhagadia sites in India will switch to renewable energies, saving 150,000 tons of CO2e per year.
  • By 2040, we will reduce our emissions from 3.2 million tons currently to less than 300,000 tons. The residual emissions will then be offset.

Water treatment: a business field that offers solutions

Our products contribute to the protection, treatment and proper circulation of water.

These include:

  • Lewatit® ion exchangers: This technology removes undesirable substances – such as toxic heavy metals – from water. Since the ion exchange resins only remove these, while leaving all other ions in the water unchanged, the treatment process is especially efficient.
  • Bayoxide® iron oxide adsorbers remove poisonous arsenic from ground and drinking water.
  • Thanks to reverse osmosis, groundwater that has been contaminated by ore mining can be restored to drinking water quality. In this way, for example, salinated groundwater in South Africa with a salt level of over 1,000 milligrams per liter has been purified and made potable by the use of 144 reverse osmosis elements since 2018. Saline industrial wastewater can also be treated with the help of reverse osmosis membranes.
“With its technologies for water treatment, LANXESS is helping to safeguard a crucial resource of the 21st century. With our solutions for industry and municipalities, we help to achieve the UN sustainability goals.”

Matthias Zachert,
Chairman of the Board of Management of LANXESS

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