09 Feb 2020
Lonza invests CHF 12 million to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in Visp


  • Lonza has detected emissions of nitrous oxide, a waste-product of niacin production, at its Visp site.
  • Nitrous oxide does not present a risk to health, meaning that there are no legal or regulatory limits regarding handling the substance. However, as nitrous oxide contributes to the greenhouse gas effect, it has attracted increasing atention since 2012 following the revision of the CO2 Act.
  • Immediately after detecting the emissions, Lonza defined technical measures in consultation with Federal Office for the Environment (FOEN).
  • By the end of 2021 at the latest, a catalytic converter will be brought into operation for CHF 12 million, which will reduce annual emissions corresponding to approximately 600,000 tons of CO2 by at least 98%.

Visp, 10 February 2020 – As an industrial company with a history stretching back over 120 years, Lonza is sustainably managing the legacy of contaminated sites and setting itself a range of environmental targets for the future. As part of this effort, it is consistently reducing and avoiding emissions. This includes treatment of nitrous oxide emissions, which were first detected in a periodic measurement when a DeNOx catalyzer was changed, as confirmed by Lonza via an external company. Chemical analyses can only detect a substance if it is explicitly being tested for. As the emissions do not present a risk to health and are not regulated in the Ordinance on Air Pollution Control, no tests concerning nitrous oxide had previously been conducted in relation to niacin production.

Once Lonza had detected nitrous oxide emissions and confirmed their presence with an external agency, the development of a technical solution began immediately. While not a risk to health, nitrous oxide is a greenhouse gas. To this end, the company was in close contact with the Federal Office for the Environment (FOEN) from the outset. By installing a combined catalyzer, Lonza expects to be able to reduce nitrous oxide emissions in niacin production by at least 98%. The planning application was made at the end of November 2019, with initial preparatory work carried out and material orders placed at the same time. Lonza received the building permit from the canton and municipality at the end of January and now expects to complete installation of the catalyzer within around 18 months. The implementation costs total CHF 12 million.

Nitrous oxide (N2O), which is more commonly known as laughing gas, is a colourless gas and is an oxide of nitrogen used in medicine as an anesthetic. It does not present a risk to health for humans or animals in the concentrations present, meaning that there are no legal or regulatory limits regarding handling the substance. However, the physical properties of nitrous oxide mean that it has significant global warming potential: it accounts for 6% of all greenhouse gases.  Nitrous oxide has stratospheric ozone-depleting potential due to its photochemical decomposition into reactive nitric oxide radicals. Lonza does not require nitrous oxide to manufacture any products and does not deliberately produce it; the substance is a waste-product in the manufacture of the vitamin niacin.

In connection with this topic we also refer to today's media release by the Federal Office for the Environment (FOEN): https://www.bafu.admin.ch/

About Lonza
Lonza is a provider of integrated solutions, combining science and technology in its segments Lonza Pharma Biotech & Nutrition and Lonza Specialty Ingredients. We focus on creating a healthy environment, promoting a healthier lifestyle and preventing illness through consumers' preventive healthcare, as well as improving patient healthcare by supporting our customers to deliver innovative medicines that help treat or even cure severe diseases. Patients and consumers benefit from our ability to transfer our pharma know-how to the healthcare, hygiene and fast-moving consumer goods environment and to the preservation and protection of the world where we live.

Founded in 1897 in the Swiss Alps, Lonza today is a well-respected global company with more than 100 sites and offices and approximately 15,500 full-time employees worldwide at the end of 2019. The company generated sales of CHF 5.9 billion in 2019 with a CORE EBITDA of CHF 1.6 billion. Further information can be found at www.lonza.com


Michael Gsponer
Head Communication and Site Marketing
Tel. +41 79 684 90 62

Additional Information and Disclaimer
Lonza Group Ltd has its headquarters in Basel, Switzerland, and is listed on the SIX Swiss Exchange. It has a secondary listing on the Singapore Exchange Securities Trading Limited (“SGX-ST”). Lonza Group Ltd is not subject to the SGX-ST’s continuing listing requirements but remains subject to Rules 217 and 751 of the SGX-ST Listing Manual. Certain matters discussed in this news release may constitute forward-looking statements. These statements are based on current expectations and estimates of Lonza Group Ltd, although Lonza Group Ltd can give no assurance that these expectations and estimates will be achieved. Investors are cautioned that all forward-looking statements involve risks and uncertainty and are qualified in their entirety. The actual results may differ materially in the future from the forward-looking statements included in this news release due to various factors. Furthermore, except as otherwise required by law, Lonza Group Ltd disclaims any intention or obligation to update the statements contained in this news release.