Bad Soden, Germany,

“We make gases from air”

Messer is sponsoring the Big Air Package by Christo – and making gases visible

“Big Air Package”, the new Christo exhibition, can be seen from 16 March in the Gasometer Oberhausen. Messer, the world’s largest privately run industrial gases specialist, is sponsoring the exhibition in order to raise awareness of the use of industrial gases, those invisible helpers in production and environmental protection.

Messer, a family company, produces and sells the air components nitrogen, oxygen, argon and noble gases as well as other gases such as carbon dioxide, helium and hydrogen. The company is particularly well-known in industry since gases are needed in almost every production operation: from bread to smartphones. Nevertheless, the industrial gases industry seems as invisible as its products. Stefan Messer, owner and CEO of Messer, would like to change this: “Our slogan “We make gases from air – Gases for Life” makes our business purpose and corporate culture clear”. It is intended to demonstrate the diversity offered by the industrial gases manufacturer as well as the responsibility that characterises the company’s actions. Messer wants to show that, in many processes, gases offer an environmentally friendly alternative.

Sensible use of industrial gases
Gases are as important as water and electricity in many industrial production processes. They become visible as sparkling carbon dioxide in beverages. Xenon headlights, krypton torches and foods packaged in a modified atmosphere make reference to them in their names. For the most part, however, gases remain invisible. For instance, they are needed in the production of paper, ice cream, wind turbines, cars and airbags, as well as tiles, ceramics and water taps. Frequently, they are also used in product recycling, where, alongside various other advantages, they offer an environmentally friendly alternative: cryogenic nitrogen is used to recover CFCs from old refrigerators in a safe and environmentally friendly way. The cold temperatures produced by nitrogen are also used for recycling PVC garden hoses. Carbon dioxide replaces mineral acids in the treatment of wastewater. Drinking water is treated with oxygen, ozone and carbon dioxide. And paper can be bleached without using any chemicals at all, just ozone. Gases for Life therefore make many chemical products superfluous.

Unusual: back in family hands
Messer was founded in 1898 in Frankfurt am Main by Adolf Messer – he began the expansion process, with overseas operations as far afield as . To facilitate further growth, the family company, led by his son, Hans Messer, merged with Frankfurt-based chemical giant Hoechst AG in 1965, remaining part of the group as Messer Griesheim – with worldwide operations – until 2001. Following a three-year restructuring phase, Stefan Messer, the founder’s grandson, succeeded in reacquiring and reprivatising the Messer company in its entirety in 2004. To finance this, Stefan Messer had to, among other things, sell the German part of the company, Messer Griesheim. In the following years, he continued to expand the European and Asian side of the business under the Messer brand. In 2008, Messer returned to the German market and now once again sells gases for industry, research, science and medicine, which it has been producing and filling at its  facility since 2009 and at its facility since 2010.