Navigation menu button

What’s going on with this helium shortage?

by @JOEdotie
Email author
31505-xlarge

We’re going to dumb it up today for a change with the news that the world is running out of helium!

By Adrian Collins


So are we nearly out of helium then? Should I be worried about my hilarious squeaky voice routine?

It seems we’re not running out of the stuff, rather the price is going sky high. Supply and demand, as they say, but we don’t need to worry yet apparently, the high-pitched voice trick will live on, it’s just going to cost more. Balloons for your New Years party might be a bit more expensive in 2013, but you could also just blow them up using regular air too.

Ah right, so where do we get helium from?

Plenty of places, it’s the second most abundant element in the universe. Helium is normally generated as a byproduct of natural gas mining, so the slow down in that sector means there’s less helium floating about. Nearly 75% of the world’s helium comes from the US, and two of the major plants are having maintenance done for the last few months, which is why the price has been squeaking up ever since.

Do we need helium for anything except balloons?

Actually, yes, we do. Helium is used in MRI machines, the production of water, and has played a key role in space exploration, or at least that’s what the lads in the know at popularmechanics.com are saying. They also use it at the Large Hadron Collider in Geneva, but that’s way too complicated for us to try and understand.

How does this affect me?

Not a huge amount we guess, but your planned one-man round the world balloon trip in a helium powered balloon has just gotten more expensive. For a thousand cubic feet of helium, the price has jumped ten dollars in the last few months to $85, fairly deflating news altogether.

Competition

WIN a brand new HTC One M8 Steel Blue smartphone Find out more

"Charles James: Beyond Fashion" Costume Institute Gala -  Outside Arrivals

Tweet of the day

Anna Kendrick had the best response to the massive celebrity nude pictures hack
36213-xlarge

News

Very, very NSFW: The topless Michelle Keegan bath picture causing a stir this morning
keaneRobbie Galaxy 2014

News

Video: Robbie Keane nutmegged a defender before chipping the keeper from 20 yards last night
Colombia v Senegal - FIFA Friendly Match

News

Falcao has signed for Manchester United on a season-long loan
Field

GAA

Video: The Bull McCabe was at the Gaelic Grounds yesterday, and we’re only realising it now
MayoFan

GAA

Burly pitch invader at the Gaelic Grounds becomes an instant celebrity (in Supermacs, anyway)
MayoFan

The Championship

Video: Mayo fans lose the plot at the end of the match – garda pushes young supporter over
Harlequins v Racing Metro 92 - Heineken Cup

News

Report: Johnny Sexton out for two months with broken jaw (now with video)
own goal

News

Video: Goalkeeper scores contender for worst own goal of the year, is comforted by nice guy Ibrahimovic
McHugh2

News

Reaction: Donegal fight back to beat Dublin and will face Kerry in All-Ireland Final
Outkast

Music

Pic: Outkast get to know the blissful Utopia that is Copper Face Jacks on a Saturday night
Real Madrid CF v Villarreal CF - La Liga

News

Vine: Gareth Bale scores sublime goal as Real Madrid suffer shock defeat
Croker

US Sports

Video: Parachute jump into GAA Headquarters from yesterday’s Croke Park Classic
Croker

US Sports

Video: Parachute jump into GAA Headquarters from yesterday’s Croke Park Classic
capture-20140901-111638

US Sports

Video: That’s Gas! Is this the most outrageous American football entrance ever?
Kieran McGeeney with Joe Brolly 31/8/2014

GAA

About time too! Joe Brolly finally gets what’s coming to him with his Ice Bucket Challenge
Leicester City v Arsenal - Premier League

News

Video: Transfer Deadline Day means another superb song mocking Arsenal’s purchasing policy
Arsenal v AS Monaco - Emirates Cup

News

Transfer Talk: Falcao up for grabs, United plan a clearout and Redknapp eyes up half his old Spurs team
Alan Brogan dejected 31/8/2014

News

Update: Alan Brogan denies he has retired from inter-county football
F1 Grand Prix of Belgium - Practice

Formula 1

Video: Watch as a 16-year-old crashes an F1 car
Screen Shot 2014-09-01 at 14.07.51

Music

Video: Japanese teenager wins 2014 Air Guitar World Championship
Charles Dance Tywin Lannister

Rugby

Video: Game Of Thrones’ Tywin Lannister gives the mother of all team talks in inspiring new Rugby World Cup ad
Shay Given 1/9/2014

News

Pic: Shay Given back in training with Ireland
Colombia v Senegal - FIFA Friendly Match

Features

Transfer Deadline Day Live Blog
Screen Shot 2014-09-01 at 13.03.50

Features

Video: 20-year-old dislocates jaw after screaming too hard during Ice Bucket Challenge
Connacht team line up for a minutes silence for Nelson Mandela 8/12/2013

Features

JOE’s Guinness PRO12 Preview: Connacht
Ant Breeders Of Bogor

Features

Video: Amazing clip of ants working together to capture a worm is definitely worth a watch…
own goal

News

Video: Goalkeeper scores contender for worst own goal of the year, is comforted by nice guy Ibrahimovic
Melbourne Demons Training Session

Random Sports Stuff

AFL club investigating player who apparently dressed as Rolf Harris for ‘Mad Monday’ celebrations
AudiR8

News

Video: Audi R8 driver wedges supercar underneath Audi A5 in Brazil
capture-20140901-111638

US Sports

Video: That’s Gas! Is this the most outrageous American football entrance ever?
F1 Grand Prix of Belgium - Practice

Formula 1

Video: Watch as a 16-year-old crashes an F1 car
The Incredibles

Trailers

Video: Pixar’s The Incredibles reimagined as a dark Christopher Nolan movie is our new favourite film
Colombia v Senegal - FIFA Friendly Match

News

Falcao has signed for Manchester United on a season-long loan
Batman The Ride

World Affairs

Video: The ‘Batman: The Ride’ rollercoaster looks like it may be the greatest thing ever
Arsenal v AS Monaco - Emirates Cup

News

Transfer Talk: Falcao up for grabs, United plan a clearout and Redknapp eyes up half his old Spurs team
Real Madrid CF v Villarreal CF - La Liga

News

Vine: Gareth Bale scores sublime goal as Real Madrid suffer shock defeat
Alan Brogan dejected 31/8/2014

News

Update: Alan Brogan denies he has retired from inter-county football
Leicester City v Arsenal - Premier League

News

Video: Transfer Deadline Day means another superb song mocking Arsenal’s purchasing policy
Harlequins v Racing Metro 92 - Heineken Cup

News

Report: Johnny Sexton out for two months with broken jaw (now with video)
Send in a story and earn some cash