Google and Netflix Buying up Massive Quantities of Helium

publication date: Apr 30, 2019
author/source: PALM BEACH, Florida, May 31, 2018 PRNewswire

Helium - A Key Ingredient To Tech Innovations

Helium-powered tech projects are a key area where usage of the inert gas is rising. While it's hard to imagine nowadays, some parts of the world are still disconnected from the Internet, and this is problem Google aims to solve. Under its Project Loon initiative, a network of helium-filled balloons will float high into the stratosphere to offer Internet connections to the world's rural populations. This will also provide cellular reception to governments and residents in the wake of a disaster.

Netflix has also joined the growing list of helium consumers. Helium can increase the storage capacity of hard drives by 50% while reducing power consumption by 23%. These hard drives could soon be put to use by Netflix to improve its streaming video quality. HP and Huawei may be the next in line to use these helium-filled hard drives.

Helium's importance in technology is not new either. The gas is already an irreplaceable and critical component of cryogenics in MRI machines. In fact, it's so important to the medical industry that doctors actually requested a ban on helium-filled party balloons a couple years ago to ensure there would be enough for medical applications.

Helium Price Soars On Supply/Demand Gap

Helium explorers have recognized a noticeable gap between demand and supply as industrial applications begin to expand, and are working on increasing the helium supply base.

 In the helium market, the supply side remains volatile and often falls short of demand. Only a handful of countries are producing helium at the moment, which is driving the uncertainty of helium supply and volatility. AlgeriaRussiaAustraliaCanada, and Poland are the other countries that complement the U.S. in supplying helium to the world, with the U.S. alone accounting for a 55% share in world supply.

Nonetheless, the price of helium continues to rise - up approximately 70% since 2008. Currently, it's at an all-time high of $300 per thousand cubic feet. With even the most conservative demand growth estimate (6.4%) lying well above the supply, the price of helium should continue to trend upwards.

Rare Earth Exploration 2019