"There's a global shortage of refined helium, and it could get worse if the [U.S.] government doesn't stay in the business of selling helium. To understand how we got here, we need to go back to nearly a century ago to World War I. Germany started building huge inflatable aircraft, and to keep up, the U.S. started stockpiling helium. That federal helium reserve is located outside Amarillo, Texas. [snip]
|Hope you can hold off on that overnight 13C|
. . .there are now 10 billion cubic feet of the gas stored in this federal reservoir — enough to fill about 50,000 Goodyear blimps. And it's all kept under a wide-open prairie dotted with coyotes and jack rabbits."Hang on, let me catch up here. Federal Helium Program? Strategic reserve? I mean, I've heard about the shortage (SciAm, Science, Marketplace), but I didn't realize the situation had grown so dire. (On a micro-econ level, I had noticed that the Airgas truck doesn't stop by to refill the NMRs quite so often, and hourly billing rates are climbing...)
Most of the articles indicate private refineries and exploration firms will bear the supply brunt if Congress doesn't act.
Perhaps #chemjobs' future isn't in fracking after all - ever thought about 'helium hunting?' Failing that, maybe you could "catch a falling star" and then list it on eBay.