Skip to main content

View Diary: Pique the Geek 20120617: Helium, Indispensable and Finite (34 comments)

Comment Preferences

  •  different numbers (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    for annual usage and the helium reserve:

    Concerns over the extinction of helium were overinflated, Bob Peterson, an agent at the Amarillo Field Office of the Bureau of Land Management, which oversees the Federal Helium Reserve, told Life's Little Mysteries.

    "In the U.S., we produce and sell 4.3 billion cubic ft of helium each year," Peterson said. "The amount used in the Macy's parade accounts for less than 1 percent of that." The Reserve was established after World War II to ensure that the U.S. would always have a steady supply of helium, which serves as an excellent coolant for use in particle accelerators, computer chip manufacturing and defense and space exploration systems. By the early 1970s, the U.S. had stored 40 billion cubic feet of helium.

    In the late 1990s, however, the private market for helium production – captured as a byproduct of sequestering natural gas – flourished so much that U.S. realized it could get what it needed from private sources, and so it began selling off its stores. The Reserve now holds some 16 billion cubic feet of helium, which Peterson says it is still selling off. As long as the natural gas projects around the world come online in the next decade as planned, and global helium consumption stays at its current level, Peterson said, we won't face a drought for a very long time.

    •  note the change in units (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      from m3 in the diary to ft3 in the quote.

      •  It is important to consider the source (0+ / 0-)

        for that information, since BLM is charged with selling the helium.  I am not saying that your figures are incorrect, but the source of them is somewhat suspect.  I hope that you are right.

        Warmest regards,


        I would rather die from the acute effects of a broken heart than from the chronic effects of an empty heart. Copyright, Dr. David W. Smith, 2011

        by Translator on Mon Jun 18, 2012 at 06:05:23 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site