Your local gas generation partner


Helium has been added to the EU Critical Raw Materials List

The EU Critical Raw Materials List has been updated with the addition of 9 new materials. Helium is one of the 9 new materials to be added to the list due to concerns surrounding its supply.

Helium shortage

Shortages in the supply of helium have become a concern  in recent years

Materials which make it onto the Critical Raw Materials list are considered critical for the EU because they are at high risk of supply shortage and any shortages could have a significant impact on the economy. 

It is unsurprising that helium has now made it on the list  as helium supply has been unstable in recent years. The latest weak link in the helium supply chain is the geopolitical situation involving Qatar, the world's second largest helium supplier. Earlier this year Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Bahrain cut diplomatic and transport ties with Qatar which has resulted in helium supply issues as Qatar has been unable to use it usual routes to export the gas.

The addition of helium to the EU Critical Raw Materials list will no doubt be worrying for helium users, many of whom have already endured several helium price rises in recent years. For example, customers of Praxair, one of the largest suppliers of helium gas in North America, have experienced 3 significant price rises, of between 10 and 20% each time, in the 12 month period from January 2016 to January 2017.  It is therefore prudent to expect that any new supply shortage could result in further price increases.

The good news is, for laboratories using helium for Gas Chromatography, there is a better alternative - hydrogen. In terms of GC carrier gas, hydrogen offers laboratories an equivalent level of sensitivity to helium but allows for faster speed of analysis, leading to an overall improvement in workflow. Unlike helium, a finite resource which evaporates into the atmosphere upon use, hydrogen is sustainable and can be generated on demand using a gas generator. Switching from bottled helium supply to a hydrogen gas generator does not only ensure an uniterrupted supply of GC carrier gas, it also brings many safety and time-saving benefits to laboratories where staff no longer have to monitor, change and transport heavy and cumbersome gas cylinders. 

To learn about switching from helium to hydrogen    

Helium is not the only new addition to the updated list. Baryte, bismuth, hafnium, helium, natural rubber, phosphorus, scandium, tantalum and vanadium have all made it onto the list this year, bringing the total number of EU Critical Raw Materials up to 27. To find out more about the list and the materials which are on it, visit the European Commission website.

Liked this article? You might also like:

GC Research shows benefits of H2 over Helium

Benefits of Gas Generators Over Gas Cylinders

Streamline your GC Analysis with Precision

Qatar ceases helium production



European Commission

Post a comment

Please enter the code as shown:


No Comments


Peak Scientific ASMS conference Peak Scientific scoops Scottish Exporter of the Year Award Scottish Engineering Awards Nitrogen Trace Product Catalogue HPLC Geneva International Track Fastest Growing Private Business Gas Chromatography Nitrogen Carrier Gas Hydrogen cylinders Dr Ed Connor Awards JASIS Japan Precision video GC Austria (MSACL) conference Birmingham Helium gas agilent generator celebrate gas agilent tardis peak Dusty Beijing Nitrogen Hydrogen ebf gas generation #dustyontour lab gas nitrogen hydrogen China #dustyontour Melbourne laboratory Peak logo Matterhorn LC-MS gas generator analysis laboratory gas generator modified atmosphere packaging laser cutting electronic component assembly India Exhibition lab National Convention South African Chemical Institute SACI lab gas bottling sparging flushing storing wine Christmas 12 days Rudolph christmas xmas new periodic elements song music universe generation Scotland pancake science Australia Proteomics show valentines love Price increase bulk gas Agilent Safety Mass Spectrometry Sciex sciex tour Award Gas Generator Innovation Queen's Award on-site adsorption PSA safety on-site nitrogen generation CMS Analytica Germany gas generators exhibitions Munich Genius 3010 Ant Teknik Eurasia Istanbul Turkey Hydrogen trace nitrogen trace careers football GC-MS food quality Genius Shimadzu 3051 Kemiportalen pairing search find Sweat diffusion through snow GC analysis Gas chromatography capillary column cylinder AZOM MRX labs gas chromatography wine cork no-taint Amorim NDtech jobs cancer dogs Infinity showcase product Nihonium Moscovium Tennessine Oganesson The International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry Tomatoes La Tomatina Chromatography today gas cylinder BioTechniques User Manuals Stoller Biomarker Discovery Centre MS table Mass Spec Thermal Desorption Sampling Corona CAD Detector Singapore training Solaris china precision nm32la service Protected proteomics peak protected NMR spectroscopy Tianjin Ionization Mass Spectrometry Conference AIMS 2016 high-purity gas After-sales maintenance seminar Genius series LCMs Genius Nitrogen Generator Precision Hydrogen Generator maintenance ELSD Micro Mass Spec zero air i-FlowLab whole of lab register flexflow elsd solaris mass spec high-performance liquid chromatography N2 Solaris Nitrogen Northern Flicker bird Tartarian Morrow's Honeysuckle APS Proteomics Lorne exhibition FlexFlow helium Valentine's Day mass spectrometry hydrogen generator nitrogen generator chromatography customer service expertise warranty hplc Europe food gc lcms gc-ms China-lab GCMS zeroair iflow Peak SCientific TOC LC-MS Chromatography Gas generators asms launch reviews NM32LA genius selectscience asia oil & gas n2 oxygen ICP-MS collision Qatar Select Science Complete Protected generators event university singapore USA Cylinders switch design technology Scientific show after service support engineer OEM chromatographie Values brand promise protected CPL-SM Thermo Scientific Aerosol detector Cannabis Quality Control Testing LCMS SM-PCI hydrogène gaz de collision Garantie générateur de gaz Gasgenerator Nitroge iflow lab Careers Recruitment Sample Evaporation ICP CO2 Analyzer FT-IR TOC hygrogen carrier gas i-flowlab azote LC_MS
To Top