How is Helium extracted at Elite Air

Lately there has been a lot of conversation around the apparent lack of Helium obtainable in Riverside and elsewhere around the world. This causes concern seeing that this gas is used throughout multiple industries in Riverside. Uses for the gas include:

  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)
  • Lifting gas – for hot air balloons and smaller recreational balloons
  • Breathing Mixtures – for deep-water diving and medical applications
  • Welding Gas – used as a protective atmosphere

Helium is a result of radioactive decay in natural gas. Therefore since natural gas has the most volume of helium, most specialty gas laboratories like Elite Air will extract Helium via natural gas. There are also small amounts of helium in the air which can also be extracted, however the process for that is expensive and rarely used.

Usually helium is segregated from natural gas through a cryogenic piping system. The natural gas is pressurized, and then travels through a sieve. During this scrubbing process, helium is separated from natural gas so that only crude helium remains. At this point, since the crude helium is only about 50% pure, increased purification processes are warranted.

The crude helium is then cooled to -315 degrees Fahrenheit so that any residual nitrogen or methane gases become liquefied and can be easily drained from the gas. The heat on the helium is then increased and oxygen is added to the gas so that any remaining particles of hydrogen will mix with the oxygen creating water. Once the water vapors are formed, the mixture is decreased and the water is drained from the mixture.

Once the water has been withdrawn, the Helium then goes into crates filled with tiny particles to further purify the gas (think of the carbon water filters in most homes in Riverside today). The process is repeated until the Helium is 99.99% pure specialty gas.

We at Elite Air take this filtering process very serious as multiple industries, from the medical industry to the food & beverage industry, rely on our specialty gases for the best possible experience.

To learn more on how your company can get the most genuine Helium in Riverside, contact Elite Air today.