Helium is the only element on the planet that is a completely non-renewable resource.
It is a critical resource for the healthcare, technology, aerospace, and other industries with substantial demand driving pricing. Helium is the coldest element, with a boiling point of only 4° Kelvin, and has unique superfluid properties.
Magnetic Resonance Imaging Machines
Helium is a liquid at extremely low temperatures, which allows it to cool magnets to a temperature that optimizes their properties. Magnets are used in MRI systems and other medical applications. MRI machines do not work without helium and there is no known substitute for helium use in MRI machines.
The MRI business has never been better, with 8% CAGR expected from free standing ERs, hospitals and outpatient expansion.
Data Centers & Quantum Computing
Data centers use helium to encapsulate hard drives, which reduces friction and energy consumption. Quantum computing systems use liquid helium in dilution refrigerators, providing temperatures as low as 2 mK.
Google, Amazon, and Netflix are now major consumers of helium.
Helium is a critical component of the electronics supply chain, and a key component in the semiconductor manufacturing process. Because it is an inert gas, it does not react with other elements, which prevents any unwanted reactions around the silicon. Helium has a high thermal conductivity, which helps to control the temperature of silicon during the manufacturing process and is increasingly important as the dimensions of the circuitry on the silicon continue to shrink.
Semiconductor complexity is accelerating, with ever smaller geometries driving CAGR beyond 10%.
Space & Satellite Applications
Helium is used for its cooling properties for launching rockets, as a purge gas in hydrogen systems, and as a pressurizing agent for ground and flight fluid systems. Helium is used to clean the remaining liquid hydrogen and oxygen out of the fuel tanks because it’s an inert gas, which means it won’t react or combust with any oxygen remaining in the tank.
NASA and Space-X are both major consumers of helium.