Our fees are changing on 4 March 2023. Learn more.

When you invest, your capital is at risk.

Scientist looks down microscope
Share

Hot Air

Helium, the gas that inflates party balloons and makes voices around the world high-pitched, is actually one of the most important resources in science. According to The Harvard Gazette, 16 Nobel Prizes have been awarded to work requiring liquid helium. And for the fourth time since 2006, the world is facing a significant helium shortage.

The irony of this shortage is that helium is believed to make up 28% of all atom formations in the universe, behind only hydrogen in its abundance. But on Earth, it's a rare resource with a finite supply.

With an atomic number of two on the periodic table, helium’s melting point is the lowest of all the known elements, it has a boiling point of -268.9 °C, and will only solidify under extreme pressure. Due to these properties, it has become vital for medicine, scientific research, arc welding, refrigeration, aircraft, coolant for nuclear reactors, cryogenic research, detecting gas leaks, and even pressurising spacecraft.

What triggered the current helium shortage was a perfect storm of events combining a global logistics crisis with multiple producer shutdowns, a leak at the U.S. helium reserve in Texas and an explosion at a major Russian facility. It’s gotten to the point where some labs are reporting suppliers are only able to allocate 45% of their orders.

Philip Kim, Harvard Professor of physics and applied physics, has said the current helium shortage could even delay the graduation of students, who are unable to complete their experiments. 

But as Winston Churchill once said, ‘never let a good crisis go to waste’. There are a number of publicly listed companies that focus on drilling for helium, like Blue Star Helium (ASX: BNL | OTCMRKT: BSNLF), Noble Helium (ASX: NHE) and Air Products & Chemicals Inc (NYSE: APD) to name a few.


Don’t have Stake?

Start ahead of the game. Get a free stock in one of Nike, Dropbox, GoPro or a mystery stock when you sign up and fund your account within 24 hours.

When you invest, your capital is at risk.

Related


Stake logo
Download Stake
App Store logo
Google Play logo
The value of investments can go up as well as down and you may receive back less than your original investment. Any advice is of a general nature only. As investments carry risk, before making any investment decision, please consider if it’s right for you and seek appropriate taxation and legal advice. The information on our website or our mobile application is not intended to be an inducement, offer or solicitation to anyone in any jurisdiction in which Stake is not regulated or able to market its services. At Stake, we’re focused on giving you a better investing experience but we don’t take into account your personal objectives, circumstances or financial needs. Please view our Terms & Conditions, Privacy Policy and Disclaimers before deciding to use or invest on Stake. By using the Stake website or service in any way, you agree to our Privacy Policy and Terms & Conditions. All financial products involve risk and you should ensure you understand the risks involved as certain financial products may not be suitable to everyone. Past performance of any product described on this website is not a reliable indication of future performance. Stake is the trading name of Hellostake Limited (no. 11676409), authorised and regulated by the UK Financial Conduct Authority (FRN: 830771).

Copyright © 2023 Stake. All rights reserved.