Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Worldwide Helium demand

Bugra Moto from Skywork Media posted and interetsing question today at the Airshipworld Yahoogroup that I would like to pick up here to bring it to a broader audience, since I think it has probabaly been discussed widely in different lists and groups, but getting the conclusions, people have come to, is not so easy. Bugras point was the following:
Blimps & Airships with all these beautiful projects about heavy cargo lift, satellite communication, defense, floating giant hotel blimp etc.; which don't get me wrong I absolutely hope they will become full scale production some time in the very near future and I admire all of you out there who invest time, effort, energy and other resources in such projects; how will the ever increasing helium demand worldwide be met with only 2 helium manufacturing countries to my knowledge (being USA & Australia)...

And I don't mean to be pessimistic here. Just hope the supply will catch up to the quick increasing demand. Well sooner or later I know it will.
And this question is really an interesting one. What if Airships, are going to become easyly developable when their production costs become lower, how are we gonna have enough helium readily available? Will we need to consider hydrogen as a liftgas again just because helium is to expensive and to difficult to get? And, are the US and Australia not going to abuse their monopoly to drive costs, if the demand increases?
Please send us your Ideas and thoughts about this topic, on airship-list Colorado the discussion about hydrogen came up again and in feburary it was at the little blimps mailing list. We all agree that hydrogen is extremely difficut to deal with, but is it more dangerous then thousands of liter of kerosin fuel, todays airplanes are fueled with? Could there be an alternative, like artifical helium that is generated by some chemical process? Please share your thoughts about this topic with us.

No comments: