So … What’s Up with Helium?

 

It’s in short supply – right? That, at least, is the news that’s been disseminated in recent years. With only a handful of studies as evidence, it was reckoned that the world supply of helium (He) is being exhausted at a disturbing rate and will soon disapper altogether. (Well, yeah, that could take two or three more centuries, but why hold off until things get dicey, eh?)

We’re not ready to insist that a global helium shortage is nonsense; some evidence supports the conviction. We’re more than ready, though, to assure you that Cee Kay Supply, Inc. in St. Louis and the PurityPlus® partner network of 150-plus specialty gas producers and distributors at 600 installations nationwide are more than able to fulfill your helium needs well into the future. We’re also intent on spreading a little cheer about the world’s helium reserves. The point of it is that you haven’t any reason to fear that there isn’t adequate helium for your professional needs. Rest easy; you’ll have plenty to facilitate every analytical task you normally perform, be it in the field of gas chromatography, spectroscopy, or mass spectrometry. The helium so indispensable for the operation of MRI scanners, for the assembly of semiconductors and superconductors, for diverse space industry applications, and for hi-tech firms doing nuclear research is quickly available – and will continue to be – from Cee Kay Supply, Inc..

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

  • Various geological territories have shown groundwater transporting huge volumes of helium into natural gas fields and trapping it there.
  • Deep helium, let loose in the creation of mountain ranges such as the Rockies, has leached via groundwater into subterrestrial reservoirs where natural gas is found too.
  • In regions where volcanic eruptions are the norm, enough 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 complicated.

The takeaways of these findings are that, 1) we’ve long underestimated how much helium is actually available to us, and 2) understanding the processes by which helium gets trapped in the natural reservoirs of which we have knowledge is revealing where to survey for new helium resources.

Nevertheless, there are some who maintain that there’s no helium crisis, that helium is constantly produced in nature, and just liquifying more natural gas would make it possible for us to take higher quantities of helium from it. Certainly helium is gotten from natural gas by means of condensation. But the equipment one needs 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 tumble, though, more helium extraction kits can be added to wells, letting us capture more of this noble gas before it would typically be burned up.

So, again, never fear. We do have practical options for getting hold of more helium. And you can bank on Cee Kay Supply, Inc. here in St. Louis to have the helium you need – whether as a coolant, a pressurizer, or a cleaning agent – whenever and wherever you need it.