So Whats Up with Helium?

 

We haven’t got much left – right? That, anyway, is the news that’s been out there over the last few years. On the basis of a handful of studies, it was reckoned that the world supply of helium (He) is being used up at a dangerous rate and will soon disapper altogether. (Well, yeah, that could take another two, maybe three, centuries, but why wait until things get out of hand, eh?)

We’re not here to assure you there’s no such thing as a global helium shortage; some evidence supports the perception. We are here, though, to assure you that Cryo-Source in Portland and the PurityPlus® partner network of 150-plus specialty gas producers and distributors at 600 installations nationwide can readily take care of your helium needs well into the future. We also want to spread a little good news about the world’s helium reserves. The point of it is that you’ve no reason to fear that there isn’t enough helium for your professional needs. Trust us; you’ll have plenty to facilitate each and every analytical task you normally perform, whether in the field of gas chromatography, spectroscopy, or mass spectrometry. The helium so vital for the operation of MRI scanners, for the assembly of semiconductors and superconductors, for a variety of space industry applications, and for hi-tech firms engaged in nuclear research is quickly available – and will continue to be – from Cryo-Source.

The good news about global helium reserves is that there are probably more of them than we once recognized existed. According to more-recent studies:

  • A few geological regions have shown groundwater conveying huge volumes of helium into natural gas fields and trapping it there.
  • Deep helium, liberated in the formation of mountain ranges such as the Rockies, has percolated via groundwater into subterrestrial reservoirs where natural gas is found too.
  • In places where volcanic eruptions are the norm, ample heat is produced in seismic upheavals to release helium from common gas-trapping rock formations deeper underground into reservoirs in closer proximity to the earth’s surface. Obviously, it’s easier to get at there – unless it’s too close to a volcano, which would make its removal problematic.

What these findings evince is that, 1) we’ve long underestimated how much helium is really available to us, and 2) understanding how helium gets trapped in the natural reservoirs of which we’re aware is revealing where to prospect for new helium resources.

Still, there are some who firmly believe that a helium crisis isn’t upon us, that helium is constantly produced in nature, and just liquifying more natural gas would make it possible for us to extract higher quantities of helium from it. Certainly helium is gotten from natural gas through condensation. But the equipment necessary to do it has thus far remained costly. This has disincentivized widespread helium extraction from liquified natural gas (LNG). As equipment prices go down, though, more helium extraction kits can be added to wells, letting us draw out more of this noble gas before it would otherwise be burned up.

So, as we said earlier, don’t [fret|worry|despair|freak out]173]. We do have practical options for collecting more helium. And you can trust Cryo-Source here in Portland to have the helium you need – whether as a coolant, a pressurizer, or a cleaning agent – whenever and wherever you need it.