How is Helium extracted at Rocky Mountain Air Solutions

As of late there has been a lot of dialogue surrounding the apparent lack of Helium accessible in Denver and elsewhere around the world. This is a major concern considering that this gas is utilized throughout multiple industries in Denver. Uses for the gas include:

  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)
  • Lifting gas – for hot air balloons and smaller recreational balloons
  • Breathing Mixtures – for deep-water diving and medical treatments
  • Welding Gas – used as a protective atmosphere

Helium is a result of radioactive decay in natural gas. Therefore since natural gas has the most volume of helium, most specialty gas laboratories like Rocky Mountain Air Solutions will get Helium via natural gas. There are also limited amounts of helium in the air which can also be extracted, however the process for that is expensive and rarely used.

Helium is sometimes extracted from natural gas through a cryogenic piping system. The natural gas is pressurized, and then passed through a sieve. Throughout the entire procedure, helium is separated from natural gas so that only crude helium remains. At this point, since the crude helium is only about 50% pure, more purification processes are warranted.

The temperature on the helium is decreased to -315 degrees Fahrenheit so that any residual nitrogen or methane gases become liquefied and can be simply drained from the gas. The heat on the helium is then turned up and oxygen is added to the gas so that any remaining particles of hydrogen will mix with the oxygen creating water. Once the water vapors are formed, the mixture is decreased and the water is withdrawn from the mixture.

Once the water has been withdrawn, the Helium then goes into vessels filled with tiny particles to further purify the gas (think of the carbon water filters in most homes in Denver today). The process is repeated until the Helium is 99.99% pure specialty gas.

We at Rocky Mountain Air Solutions take this purification process very serious as multiple industries, from the medical industry to the food & beverage industry, rely on our specialty gases for the best possible experience.

To learn more on how your company can get the most genuine Helium in Denver, contact Rocky Mountain Air Solutions today.