Doe Canyon Helium Plant

Air Products' Doe Canyon
Helium Plant
World's first facility to produce helium from carbon dioxide stream

In August 2015, Air Products commissioned a one-of-a-kind helium production facility in Doe Canyon, Colorado, and just six months later celebrated a milestone by filling its 100th helium ISO container. The Doe Canyon helium plant is the only one in the world extracting helium from a gas stream composed primarily of carbon dioxide (CO2). The helium from Doe Canyon strengthens and diversifies Air Products’ supply chain to ensure a reliable and stable supply for its customers around the world.

Most of the helium produced worldwide is a by-product of natural gas (methane) processing. Not all natural gas fields contain helium; in fact very few gas fields have high enough helium concentrations to make it economical for extraction. Combine that with the fact that the existing United States Bureau of Land Management (BLM) helium reserve is a finite supply, and it becomes quite clear that it is essential to always be looking for novel ways to produce more helium.

How is helium produced at the Doe Canyon facility?

The helium at Doe Canyon is extracted from a naturally occurring underground CO2 gas source. The Air Products facility uses a new technology process to produce pure helium from the CO2 stream that contains recoverable amounts of helium. The purified helium is liquefied on-site for subsequent delivery to Air Products’ customers.

Doe Canyon Helium Extraction Process
Click to view larger diagram.

Doe Canyon Helium extraction diagram

How much helium does the facility produce?

The Doe Canyon plant is capable of producing up to 230 million standard cubic feet per year. The helium produced at this facility helps replace the BLM reserve helium supply that is currently in decline.

How is helium used?

Helium is used in many unique and valued applications including: magnetic resonance imaging (MRI); lifting for high altitude scientific research balloons, blimps and party balloons; fiber optics and semi-conductor manufacturing; metallurgy; breathing atmospheres for deep diving or unique blood gas medical mixtures; analytical chemistry; pressurizing and purging pipes; vessels, and other critical equipment; leak detection; and other advanced applications.

View news releases 

Air Products "Thinks Outside-the-Box" in Obtaining New Helium Source 
October 28, 2013 

Air Products Holds Grand Opening at Its Doe Canyon Helium Plant 
August 19, 2015 

Air Products Fills 100th Helium ISO Container at Doe Canyon
March 9, 2016

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