News Release: Air Products Holds Grand Opening at Its Doe Canyon Helium Plant
Air Products has commissioned its new Doe Canyon helium production facility in Colorado. 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 will further diversify Air Products’ supply chain to ensure a reliable and stable supply for its customers.
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 will helium at the Doe Canyon facility be produced?
The helium at Doe Canyon will be extracted from a naturally occurring underground CO2 gas source. The Air Products facility will use a new technology process to produce pure helium from the CO2 stream that contains recoverable amounts of helium. The purified helium will be liquefied on-site for subsequent delivery to Air Products’ customers.
How much helium will the facility produce?
The plant is expected to produce up to 230 million standard cubic feet per year, replacing more than 15% of the current BLM reserve helium supply as that system declines.
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.