So Whats Up with Helium?


Its reserves are dwindling – right? That, anyway, is the news that’s been promulgnated in recent years. With only a handful of studies as evidence, it was determined that the international supply of helium (He) is being used up at an alarming rate and will soon run out. (Well, okay, it may take another couple hundred years, give or take, but why wait until things get dicey, eh?)

We’re not here to assure you a global helium shortage is drivel; some evidence supports the belief. We are here, though, to assure you that Rocky Mountain Air Solutions in Denver and the PurityPlus® partner network of 150-plus specialty gas producers and distributors at 600 installations across America can readily meet your helium needs well into the future. We’re also intent on spreading some cheer about the world’s helium reserves. The upshot is that there’s no reason to fear that there isn’t adequate helium for your professional needs. Trust us; you’ll have a lot of it to facilitate every analytical task you normally perform, be it for gas chromatography, spectroscopy, or mass spectrometry. The helium so critical for the operation of MRI scanners, for the fabrication of semiconductors and superconductors, for diverse space industry applications, and for hi-tech facilities doing nuclear research is quickly available – and will continue to be – from Rocky Mountain Air Solutions.

The cheering news about global helium reserves is that there may actually be more of them than we realized existed. According to more-recent studies:

  • A few geological regions have shown groundwater moving huge volumes of helium into natural gas fields and trapping it there.
  • Deep helium, let loose in the genesis of mountain ranges on the order of the Rockies, has percolated via groundwater into below-ground|]111] reservoirs where natural gas is found also.
  • In regions of volcanic activity, enough heat is produced in seismic disturbances to release helium from common gas-trapping rock formations deeper underground into reservoirs nearer to the earth’s surface. Obviously, it’s simpler to access there – unless it’s too close to a volcano, which would make its removal tricky.

What these findings imply is that, 1) we’ve long underestimated how much helium is truly available to us, and 2) understanding why helium gets trapped in the natural reservoirs we’ve discoved is showing us where to search for new helium resources.

Nevertheless, there are some who firmly believe that the “helium crisis” is a fiction, that helium is continuously produced in nature, and merely liquifying more natural gas would permit us to take higher quantities of helium from it. It’s true that helium is gotten from natural gas through condensation. But the equipment necessary to do it has so far remained cost-prohibitive. 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 trap more of this noble gas before it would otherwise be burned up.

So, to sum things up, don’t [fret|worry|despair|freak out]173]. We do have practical options for getting hold of more helium. And you can trust Rocky Mountain Air Solutions here in Denver to have the helium you need – whether as a coolant, a pressurizer, or a cleaning agent – whenever and wherever you need it.