Tackling the Helium Shortage with Shimadzu UK

“Addressing the Helium Shortage: An Interview with Anna Cooper, Ph.D., UK Marketing Manager at Shimadzu UK Limited”


Today, we have the privilege of speaking with Anna Cooper, Ph.D., the UK Marketing Manager at Shimadzu UK Limited, to discuss the current situation with helium consumption and its impact on the lab industry. 

Welcome, Anna! 

  1. Let’s begin by addressing the current situation with helium consumption. It’s been noted that helium reserves are depleting, causing labs to turn down new customers who rely on this gas. How is this affecting the industry, and what are the considerations for using alternative gases, such as hydrogen, while ensuring safety? 

Helium is indeed a natural gas with depleting reserves, leading to challenges in its availability and rising prices. Consequently, labs need to be cautious about their helium usage and focus on optimising its efficiency. As for using alternative gases like hydrogen, it’s a global issue that requires careful consideration of safety aspects. 

2. What do you believe is the primary reason for the current helium shortage? 

As mentioned earlier, the helium shortage is primarily due to depleting reserves, impacting this gas’s global availability. 

3.  Thank you for clarifying that. Now, let’s focus on what Shimadzu is doing to address this issue. Can you share some insights into the steps your company is taking to conserve helium consumption and potentially switch to other gases? 

At Shimadzu, we are committed to ensuring our technology adapts to conserve helium and improve its efficiency. We are actively developing solutions to enable our systems to run on alternative gases when necessary. 

4.  That sounds promising. What changes is your company hoping to achieve with these solutions? 

Our primary goal is to empower our customers to continue performing high-quality analysis even in the absence of helium. Our new systems are designed with functions that aid in this process, ensuring a smooth and seamless transition to alternative gases. 

5. Looking ahead, what do you predict the future of helium consumption will be like? Do you see a shift towards using alternative carrier gases? 

The future of helium consumption will likely involve a transition to other gas options, with technology adapting to support this change. For instance, hydrogen can be used as an alternative. We foresee a scenario where helium is used only when essential for specific analysis, while more cost-effective gases are employed for other processes to make the overall operation viable. 

6. That’s an insightful perspective. Finally, what advice would you give to laboratories trying to reduce their helium consumption and address the shortage? 

Laboratories should actively engage with their instrumentation providers. They can offer valuable advice on how to optimize functions and save both money and time while adapting to alternative gases. Communication with experts in the field is crucial for successfully navigating the challenges posed by the helium shortage. 

Thank you, Anna, for sharing your expertise on the helium shortage and Shimadzu’s efforts to address this issue. We appreciate your valuable insights.  

You’re welcome and thank you for having me. It’s essential for the industry to work together to find sustainable solutions amid the helium shortage. 


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