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Helium Recovery Applications

Membrane technology for helium recovery

Air Liquide Advanced Separations (ALaS) offers complete modular solutions for helium purification of raw gas from well to tube trailers.

Our Technology

The Air Liquide Modular Helium Purifier is fully customizable and provides a comprehensive solution with the ability to remove CO2, CH4, H2S, N2, Ar, O2, H2 and moisture, producing purified helium for the customer. The core of the solution typically includes multiple membrane stages combined with PSA technology.


Air Liquide membranes are based on hollow fiber technology for the recovery of helium from natural gas or nitrogen rich gases. Hollow fiber membranes provide the most efficient means of selectively separating gases due to the high surface area available for gas permeation per unit volume.  In a raw gas feed stream typically consisting of methane and other hydrocarbons, nitrogen, other impurities and helium, helium’s very simple atomic structure allows it to selectively permeate and enrich in concentration much faster than the other components. When a natural gas stream containing helium is fed at pressure to a hollow fiber membrane, helium is selectively concentrated in the permeate stream, leaving a helium-depleted methane-rich stream as the residue stream.


Pressure Swing Adsorption (PSA) technology consists of  multiple vessels, each packed with adsorbent beds that perform a different function. In the first step, almost all components except helium are removed from the stream, producing a high purity helium product which is then further purified in multiple steps by changing the pressure of the adsorbent bed. Many additional steps can be integrated as needed such as compression, water removal, hydrocarbons removal, hydrogen sulfide (H2S) removal and hydrogen removal in order to achieve the desired purification.

Overall process integration

Air Liquide has developed patented methods and technologies for efficient helium processing. Air Liquide guarantees the performance of its units and delivers a highly reliable helium source for the customer. The complete solution is constructed with skid-mounted units which are easily transported to the site and then connected in the field.