Skip to comments.British academic: Ban party balloons (helium filled)
Posted on 12/13/2012 5:58:00 AM PST by chessplayer
The scarcity of helium is a really serious issue. I can imagine that in 50 years time our children will be saying, I cant believe they used such a precious material to fill balloons, said the doctor, Peter Wothers.
The non-renewable gas is a necessity in hospitals, where it is used to cool magnets in MRI scanners and mixed with oxygen to allow ill patients and newborn babies to breathe more easily.
Scientists have been unsuccessful in finding a sustainable way of making the gas artificially.
If we keep using it for non-essential things like party balloons, where were just letting it float off into space, we could be in for some serious problems in around 30 to 50 years time. The gas is hugely valuable.
Only if there is an available source for it. While greater demand creates a price support for the economic supply of a material, it has to be available for that to happen.
There are very few sources of Helium in the world.
“Why the world is running out of helium”
“A US law means supplies of the gas a vital component of MRI scanners are vanishing fast”
“Helium Supplies Endangered, Threatening Science And Technology”
No, not really. True, tere is a limited amount on this planet. And it’s all still here except for the trivial amounts we’ve used in space craft.
As otheres have stated, there are helium wells and filtration systems for that found via natural gas wells (About 7%). The economics will drive other processes.
As an example, atmospheric liquidation at some point would be an economically viable means of recovery. The atmosphere is 0.00052% Helium... That’s a lot of Helium.
And to top it off, it’s the 2nd most common element in the universe behind hydrogen.
So it’ not serious. THe solar wind is lousey with it and if desparate enough an economic case for a space based capture system will be made.
THe guy’s whining.
Parties, too. Ban parties.
And happiness. Ban happiness.
People. Ban people.
By all means lets use it up so hospitals can no longer use MRI machines. A kids party balloon is a much more important use for it. And happiness is impossible without have a helium filled party balloon. sarc/
I went to buy balloons for a birthday party and was told they (Safeway) no longer have them, because the US government controls all helium and is restricting supplies.
The clerk said it is just to complicated to buy the gas, so they stopped (at that store at least).
Are you trying to claim that 7% of natural gas wells have economically recoverable quantities of helium? If I understood that correctly, please provide some more information.
The atmosphere is 0.00052% Helium... Thats a lot of Helium.
And most of that, is in the far upper atmosphere called the heterosphere, about 100 kilometers above the surface. Not very accessible for a ground based separation facility.
Should we toil at drudgery, day in and day out, only to have machines artificially keep us alive so that we can scrabble another root or tuber from a barren, lifeless landscape? What is the point of life without laughter, or happiness, or contentment?
Can you possibly be so jaded that you don't consider the QUALITY of life, more than just the number of days of a bleak, forbidding, horrific and joyless existence? Is it better to live more swiftly in an Eden, then it is to live a few more months in a gray, bleak, hopeless Gulag?
So run a hose.
There are loads of wells that produce small amounts of helium. Mostly in New Mexico. The problem is the economics of separating and capturing it. This process is spreading, e.g., to Kansas and Oklahoma, as the price increases.
Of course, if you want loads of helium, just build a space elevator.
It is my studied opinion that balloons filled with H2O are way more fun than those filled with any gas; well maybe not any gas, acetylene in balloon and a flame source are fun, too.
How apt. :)
You have no idea of the power of the Party Balloon.
Interesting sequential postings...
That is not an inconsequential problem. Using cryogenics to separate out helium require cooling down to below -346°F where the nitrogen condenses out of the gas remaining after the methane condensed out at -260°F
You can see that Helium is also a waste product from upgassing as well. If the price dictates, that helium will be captured from those processes and sold...so it isn’t just certain wells that contain it, but also the byproduct from upgassing.
Don't forget Rage Monkeys
I'm sure Mitsubishi will be making it soon...from hydrogen. (see current thread)