The so-called ‘noble’ or ‘inert’ gases such as helium, argon, neon, xenon, and krypton frequently tend to be confined to niche markets. But whereas their stable structure renders them mostly unreactive in many chemical reactions, rare gases are anything but inert in our economies. To wit, helium, the second most abundant element in the universe behind only hydrogen, is a vital resource with several modern-day applications in microchip manufacture, hybrid air vehicles, helium-filled hard drives, and space exploration among others. Helium has traditionally been used in lighter-than-air balloons thanks to the gas being 7x lighter than air and far less reactive than hydrogen, the lightest element in the universe. Unfortunately, hydrogen’s role in the 1937 Hindenburg disaster cast a dark shadow over its potential that the gas has been unable to overcome in many decades– until now . Helium has simply been ignored. Here on our planet, helium is […]