So … What’s Up with Helium?

 

We haven’t got much left – right? That, in any event, is the news that’s been circulating in recent years. On the basis of a handful of studies, it was inferred that the international supply of helium (He) is being used up at a frightful rate and will soon disapper altogether. (Well, okay, it might take two or three more centuries, but why mark time until things get out of hand, eh?)

We’re not going to try convincing you a global helium shortage is nonsense; some evidence backs the proposition. We are, however, going to assure you that ILMO Products Company in Springfield and the PurityPlus® partner network of 150-plus specialty gas producers and distributors at 600 installations nationwide are more than able to take care of your helium needs well into the future. We’d also like to spread a little cheer about the world’s helium reserves. The truth is that there’s no reason to fret that there isn’t enough helium for your professional needs. Rest easy; you’ll have plenty to facilitate each analytical task you routinely perform, be it in the realm of gas chromatography, spectroscopy, or mass spectrometry. The helium so imperative for the operation of MRI scanners, for the manufacture of semiconductors and superconductors, for various space industry applications, and for hi-tech outfits conducting nuclear research is quickly available – and will remain so – from ILMO Products Company.

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

  • Some geological areas have shown groundwater bearing huge volumes of helium into natural gas fields and trapping it there.
  • Deep helium, liberated in the birth of mountain ranges such as the Rockies, has filtered via groundwater into below-ground|]111] reservoirs where natural gas is found also.
  • In areas where volcanic activity is frequent, plenty of heat is produced in seismic disruptions to release helium from common gas-trapping rock formations deeper underground into reservoirs in closer proximity to the earth’s surface. Obviously, it’s more accessible there – unless it’s too close to a volcano, which would make its harvesting complicated.

The takeaways of these findings are 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 know about is revealing where to survey for new helium resources.

Of course, there are some who maintain that the “helium crisis” is a fiction, that helium is continuously 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 pulled from natural gas via condensation. But the equipment necessary to do it has thus far remained cost-prohibitive. This has kept helium extraction from liquified natural gas (LNG) at a minimum. 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 typically be burned up.

So, once more, don’t [fret|worry|despair|freak out]173]. We do have practicable options for securing more helium. And you can depend on ILMO Products Company here in Springfield to have the helium you need – whether as a coolant, a pressurizer, or a cleaning agent – whenever and wherever you need it.