How Hycomp Can Help Overcome Difficulties in Helium Compression

Demand for helium has been growing steadily as more applications for this unique gas have been discovered. Due to its unique properties, many applications cannot substitute any other element for helium. With major changes anticipated in the helium market, a helium recovery system can help save you money on this non-renewable resource and prepare for the future.

Many companies which choose to implement helium recovery systems see a payback period of only 6 months. With the rise of Helium prices, the payback period will shorten and bring an increase in savings. Helium recovery systems can be implemented into many different applications and are generally easy to install, but would require a properly suited recovery compressor.

Compressing helium can be difficult for several reasons:

  1. Helium heats up considerably when compressed due to it’s molecular weight. To overcome this additional heat, Hycomp has specially designed several compressor models with smaller compression ratios between stages. This allows the gas to be cooled at lower pressure intervals which prevents overheating.
  2. Helium will leak where other gases will not due to its small molecular size. The more the helium is compressed, the more likely it will leak. Hycomp compressors are designed such that any gas that leaks past the piston rings and gas packings is recovered by the inlet gas stream. This results in virtually no loss of flow through the compressor. Purity is often a concern when recovering helium. Hycomp’s vertical design, oil scrapers, and open distance piece ensure that the lube oil is contained within the crankcase and that no oil enters the compression end of the compressor. Hycomp compressors do not add any contaminants to the gas stream.
  3. Helium requires high pressures to maximize storage space. Hycomp has several compressor models capable of up to 2900 psig (200 barg). This allows for plenty of storage capacity and ensures that there is suitable pressure for any helium scrubbing process that is used.

Experience is a must. Due to the complexities associated with helium compression, it is imperative to use a compressor that has a proven track record. Hycomp compressors have been utilized in helium recovery for over ten years in some of the harshest conditions. With a return on investment in as little as 6 months and a service life of over 20 years, a Hycomp compressor is well worth the investment.

Common industries and applications using Helium.

IndustryHelium Use
Click on example(s) below for corresponding case study.
Deep Sea DivingSubsea breathing gas reclamation (up to 300 meter depth)
ElectronicsProduction blanketing
Product TestingIndustrial leak detection
Metal FabricationArc welding process
MedicalCooling of the superconducting magnets in MRI scanners
And other applications where elevated helium pressures are needed.