So … What’s Up with Helium?


There’s not much of it left – right? That, anyway, is the news that’s been promulgnated over the last few years. With only a handful of studies as evidence, it was concluded that the global supply of helium (He) is being used up at a dangerous rate and will soon disapper altogether. (Well, all right, it might take several hundred years, but why mark time until things get dicey, eh?)

We’re not going to try convincing you a global helium shortage is nonsense; some evidence bears out the proposition. We are, however, going to assure you that Delille Oxygen Company in Columbus and the PurityPlus® partner network of better than 150 specialty gas producers and distributors at 600 loctions across America can easily satisfy your helium needs well into the future. We’re also intent on spreading a bit of positive news about the world’s helium reserves. The reality is that you’ve no reason to fret that there isn’t adequate helium for your professional needs. Rest easy; you’ll have plenty to facilitate each analytical task you typically perform, be it in the realm of gas chromatography, spectroscopy, or mass spectrometry. The helium so crucial for the operation of MRI scanners, for the creation of semiconductors and superconductors, for diverse space industry applications, and for hi-tech outfits conducting nuclear research is immediately available – and will remain so – from Delille Oxygen Company.

The positive news about global helium reserves is that there are almost surely more of them than we realized existed. According to more-recent studies:

  • Various geological regions have shown groundwater conveying huge volumes of helium into natural gas fields and trapping it there.
  • Deep helium, freed in the emergence of mountain ranges like the Rockies, has leached via groundwater into underground|]111] reservoirs where natural gas is found as well.
  • In areas of volcanic activity, plenty of heat is produced in seismic disturbances to release helium from typical gas-trapping rock formations deeper underground into reservoirs nearer to the earth’s surface. Obviously, it’s more accessible there – unless it’s too close to a volcano, which would make its harvesting awkward if not outright dangerous.

What these findings suggest 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 we’ve discoved is showing us where to prospect for new helium resources.

Still, there are some who argue 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 get higher quantities of helium from it. Yes, helium is extracted from natural gas by way of condensation. But the equipment one needs to do it has so far remained cost-prohibitive. This has discouraged widespread helium extraction from liquified natural gas (LNG). As equipment prices tumble, though, more helium extraction kits can be added to wells, letting us seize more of this noble gas before it would otherwise be burned up.

So, again, don’t [fret|worry|despair|freak out]173]. We do have reasonable options for getting hold of more helium. And you can rely on Delille Oxygen Company here in Columbus to have the helium you need – whether as a coolant, a pressurizer, or a cleaning agent – whenever and wherever you need it.