So Whats Up with Helium?


There’s not much of it left – right? That, at any rate, is the news that’s been disseminated for the last few years. With only a handful of studies as evidence, it was deduced that the international supply of helium (He) is being used up at a dangerous rate and will soon be gone. (Well, all right, that could take another two, maybe three, centuries, but why hold off until things get desperate, eh?)

We’re not prepared to assure you a global helium shortage is nonsense; some evidence supports the idea. We are prepared, though, to assure you that Mississippi Welders Supply Co., Inc. in Winona and the PurityPlus® partner network of 150-plus specialty gas producers and distributors at 600 installations across the states can readily satisfy your helium needs well into the future. We’re also intent on spreading some good news about the world’s helium reserves. The reality is that you’ve no reason to worry that there isn’t adequate helium for your professional needs. Believe us; you’ll have a lot of it to facilitate each and every analytical task you ordinarily perform, be it for gas chromatography, spectroscopy, or mass spectrometry. The helium so necessary for the operation of MRI scanners, for the assembly of semiconductors and superconductors, for all kinds of space industry applications, and for hi-tech facilities engaged in nuclear research is quickly available – and will continue to be – from Mississippi Welders Supply Co., Inc..

The good news about global helium reserves is that there are undoubtedly more of them than we once recognized existed. According to more-recent studies:

  • Various geological areas have shown groundwater transporting huge volumes of helium into natural gas fields and trapping it there.
  • Deep helium, freed in the birth of mountain ranges on the order of the Rockies, has leached via groundwater into below-ground|]111] reservoirs where natural gas is found as well.
  • In regions where volcanic activity is present, sufficient 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 removal tricky.

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

Still, there are some who hold 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. It’s true that helium is gotten from natural gas through condensation. But the equipment necessary to do it has thus far remained financially daunting. This has kept helium extraction from liquified natural gas (LNG) at a minimum. As equipment prices decrease, however, more helium extraction kits can be added to wells, enabling us to release more of this noble gas before it would typically be burned up.

So, again, never fear. We do have viable options for collecting more helium. And you can trust Mississippi Welders Supply Co., Inc. here in Winona to have the helium you need – whether as a coolant, a pressurizer, or a cleaning agent – whenever and wherever you need it.