Donald Duck voices silent and birthday balloons fall everywhere as helium disappears…

I read in a news article that the world’s largest helium reserve in Amarillo, Texas will be gone in five years. Helium is a finite resource, and as a gas chromatographer, this is shocking to me, given that helium is the blood, the life force, for my work. Anyone using helium likely knows its cost has increased substantially over the last few years, to as much as 4 times hydrogen or nitrogen.

My colleague Cindy Ross suggested a year back that maybe we should be developing GC applications for nitrogen carrier gas, easily available and cheaper than helium. At first I dismissed the idea because nitrogen is slow, and most efficient (the most efficient carrier!) only in a narrow velocity range. But not all applications require the ultimate speed or the best efficiency, so I started experimenting.

Check out the attached nitrogen carrier gas application for organochlorine pesticides and contrast it against our published work using helium and hydrogen. I was impressed. Are you?

Further reading: Nitrogen and Hydrogen Gas Generators

2 Responses to “Donald Duck voices silent and birthday balloons fall everywhere as helium disappears…”

  1. […] 12 min GC-ECD analysis of EPA Method 8081 organochlorine pesticides using nitrogen carrier gas […]

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