Gas explorer teams up with Lockheed Martin on helium-fuelled airships

From Freedom’s Phoenix

Helium One, a start-up crewed by oil and mining industry veterans, is teaming up with Lockheed Martin to work on using the US giant’s new airships to transport helium from its project in Tanzania to port for shipping.

The company hopes that the partnership will eventually result in it supplying helium to Lockheed’s entire fleet of hybrid airships.

Lockheed plans to launch its first helium-powered airship for commercial use in 2018, and already has an order pending for 12 craft from an aviation firm in Alaska.

The giant aircraft can carry minimum 21-tonne payloads and are intended for use in the oil, gas and mining sectors, delivering bulky supplies to remote installations where there are few roads or airstrips, as well as for use in tourism.

“We like the thought of shipping our product using our product,” explained Tom Abraham-James, Helium One’s chief executive.

Helium One claims it has one of the largest untapped resources of helium anywhere in the world, totalling 98.9bn cubic feet, and is expecting a surge in demand if Lockheed’s airships take off.

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