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Question:Helium alternative

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mrw0116 asked on November 10, 2017 16:16
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I'm planning to start a project in Ghana in a few months, but only very expensive, industrial grade is available: 9 Cubic metres, 500 Euro (GHC2548). How much would I need for the big balloon kit? I’ve seen the consumer canisters in local shops, but assume that these cannot be brought on board a plane. Are there alternative gas sources that can be used and that might be cheaper and more easily acquired?



balloon-mapping helium

question:balloon-mapping question:mini-balloon-kit question:helium



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2 Answers

Hi! There's some stuff up on this page about using hydrogen, but there are a lot of valid concerns about safety: https://publiclab.org/wiki/hydrogen-balloons

Be careful! There are also solar hot air balloons, btw!

https://publiclab.org/tag/solar-balloon


mrw0116 10 days ago

Thanks, Warren. Good to know, but a little scary.

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Nine cubic meters for 500 euros is not a terrible deal. That's 318 cubic feet (which is a huge tank, so that's a problem unless you don't really have to buy the whole 9 meters). Depending on a lot of variables, 318 cubic feet of pure helium could allow six to eight fillings of a 4-5 foot diameter balloon which will lift a camera. That's maybe 70 euros per fill, which is similar to what it costs in the US, unless the prices here have come down.

A five foot balloon has a volume of 65 cubic feet (1854 liters) and will lift 4.2 pounds if filled with helium. Good info here: http://www.chem.hawaii.edu/uham/lift.html

Chris


mrw0116 10 days ago

Chris, thanks much for these details. This gives me a much better idea of costs and how much helium I might need.

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