Sources: Altaeros Energies [PDF], Inhabitat, CTV
quote: Well to be serious, this article is sensational.
quote: Professor Richardson co-chaired an inquiry into the impending helium shortage convened by the influential US National Research Council, an arm of the US National Academy of Sciences. This report, which has just been published, recommends that the US Government should revisit and reconsider its policy of selling off the US national helium reserve."They couldn't sell it fast enough and the world price for helium gas is ridiculously cheap," Professor Richardson told a summer meeting of Nobel laureates from around the world at Lindau in Germany. "You might at first think it will be peculiarly an American topic because the sources of helium are primarily in the US but I assure you it matters of the rest of the world also," he said.Professor Richardson believes the price for helium should rise by between 20- and 50-fold to make recycling more worthwhile. Nasa, for instance, makes no attempt to recycle the helium used to clean is rocket fuel tanks, one of the single biggest uses of the gas.
quote: Ray Dolan, a professor at UCL's Wellcome Trust Centre for Neuroimaging, said that the college had stopped taking bookings for its scanner after its supplier, BOC, said it could not guarantee how much helium it could provide. "It is rendering programmes that are funded very, very problematic and there's great uncertainty," he said.
quote: Oleg Kirichek, the leader of a research team at the Isis neutron beam facility at the UK's Rutherford Appleton Laboratory, had an unpleasant shock last week. One of his key experiments, designed to probe the structure of matter, had to be cancelled – because the facility had run out of helium.The gas, used to cool atoms to around -270C to reduce their vibrations and make them easier to study, is now becoming worryingly scarce, said Kirichek. Research facilities probing the structure of matter, medical scanners and other advanced devices that use the gas may soon have to reduce operations or close because we are frittering away the world's limited supplies of helium on party balloons."It costs £30,000 a day to operate our neutron beams, but for three days we had no helium to run our experiments on those beams," said Kirichek. "In other words we wasted £90,000 because we couldn't get any helium. Yet we put the stuff into party balloons and let them float off into the upper atmosphere, or we use it to make our voices go squeaky for a laugh. It is very, very stupid. It makes me really angry."
quote: Bennie Sparrow, owner of Balloons Above Orange in Hillsborough, said she has only one tank of helium to fill balloons for Valentine's Day next Tuesday. The tank can fill about 600 balloons, and she said she can get orders for up to 1,000 balloons for the holiday."There's just no way we can run a balloon business without helium," Sparrow said.Very few of the display balloons in her store are filled with helium so she can conserve her limited supply for customer orders. She's also increased her prices in recent months to pass along the higher cost of helium.If the helium supply situation doesn't improve, Sparrow said, it could put her and other small balloon stores out of business.
quote: Last time I checked they didn't inflate balloons with liquid helium or liquid hydrogen.
quote: We were spending $500 for freon on what we had been charging $15 per test before the ban.
quote: Helium shortage not a gas
quote: Helium shortage could deflate Valentine's Day