How is Helium extracted at Toll Company

In the news there has been plenty dialogue surrounding the apparent lack of Helium available in Minneapolis and elsewhere around the world. This is a big concern seeing that this gas is used throughout multiple industries in Minneapolis. Uses for the gas include:

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

Helium is a result of radioactive decay in natural gas. Therefore since natural gas has the most amounts of helium, most specialty gas laboratories like Toll Company will obtain 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.

Helium is sometimes removed from natural gas through a cryogenic piping system. The natural gas is pressurized, and then passed 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 required.

The crude helium is then diminished to -315 degrees Fahrenheit so that any residual nitrogen or methane gases become liquefied and can be simply 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 cooled back down and the water is drained from the mixture.

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

We at Toll Company take this purification 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 purest Helium in Minneapolis, contact Toll Company today.