Newly combined technologies at Ecolab and Nalco created big water savings for hotel, food and energy customers worldwide, according to the 2011 Ecolab sustainability report released Thursday.

Nine months into the merger of the sanitizing and industrial water tech giants, the new $11 billion Ecolab has bragging rights.

According to the report, water cooling technology saved customers 351 billion liters of water last year.

Dry conveyor lubricants alone saved 9.4 billion liters of water in beverage, brewing, dairy and processing plants, including 1.8 million liters saved inside PepsiCo bottling plants. Lubricants, pretreatment, cooling and other systems reduced PepsiCo's water use by a total 662 million liters last year.

Ecolab's special laundry wash systems cut customer water use by 40 percent, while high-tech dishwashing machines reduced water consumption by restaurants and Marriott Hotels by 50 percent. Nalco's paper making mixing technology saved 8 billion liters of water.

The report went on to describe Ecolab's internal efforts. Projects inside Ecolab factories in Joilet, Ill., Marinsburg W.Va., saved 97 million liters of water.

The company says it still has work to do internally.

Nalco, which processes liquids used in industrial papermaking, oil exploration and refining, cut energy use by 8.4 percent in two years, but wants to slash 10 percent.

Ecolab set a goal in 2009 to reduce factory water use, disposed waste and wastewater by 18 percent by 2015. It cut disposed waste by 19.8 percent as of last year. But water use and wastewater increased as production rose.

Ecolab CEO Doug Baker said in a statement that the effort will continue. "We have a unique role to play in addressing some of the most challenging issues facing our planet," he said.

Dee DePass • 612-673-7725