Contest #6140129



Contest Summary   Contest Forum    Resource Document    

New Helium Applications Contest


Praxair is seeking novel ways of using helium to generate value in new and/or existing processes through improvements in efficiency or throughput, or to reduce a process’ environmental footprint.   


Helium is already used in a wide range of applications, including medical equipment, chemical characterization and analysis, electronics, automotive, and aerospace.  Praxair hopes that this contest will encourage people to think about how helium’s unique characteristics like buoyancy and diffusivity can be used advantageously in other areas, such as marine or agricultural applications. 


Improvements to existing processes are of equal interest, particularly as they relate to sustainability and protection of our environment.






NineSigma, representing Praxair, seeks to identify new, commercially viable applications that will help to expand the global market for helium.



Participants in this competition vie for at least three US$30,000 cash prizes and may have the opportunity to collaborate with Praxair to develop proposed solutions. 


Praxair will select a minimum of 5 respondents as semi-finalists. These semi-finalists will each discuss their proposal directly with a Praxair technical and business development review panel. This review panel will select least 3 of the semi-finalists to each receive a US$30,000 cash prize.


There may be funded development opportunities for some of the awarded technologies.






Successful technologies will use helium in any form (gas, liquid, or plasma) and will take advantage of one or more of helium’s unique properties:


  • low boiling point
  • inertness
  • low density
  • low viscosity
  • high thermal conductivity
  • low atomic mass
  • small atomic radius
  • high diffusion rate
  • high speed of sound
  • high ionization energy
  • low solubility

Processes or technologies with a beneficial and well-defined value proposition are preferred, but there is also a strong interest in highly innovative approaches that may currently have less supporting evidence.



Helium is a non-renewable resource that is used in a wide array of applications, across a wide array of industries. This resource document highlights general information about helium, its uses, availability, and modes of supply.


Praxair, a leader in industrial gases, seeks to identify novel ways of using helium to generate value in new and/or existing processes through improvements in efficiency or throughput, or to reduce a process’ environmental footprint. This is consistent with the company’s mission to “Make our Planet More Productive” by improving the economic and environmental performance of customer processes around the world.


The goal of this contest is to expand the global market for helium through the development of new applications. These applications might include the substitution of helium in existing processes and products that would benefit from helium’s properties, or the development of new applications that take advantage of those properties. Praxair has recycle technology that can improve the economics of proposed processes requiring large volumes of helium. Additional information about recycle technology is available within the resource document.


See Official Rules for details. Contest opens on September 29, 2015.  Must submit at least one entry by January 28, 2016, to be eligible.  Must be 18 years of age or older to participate.  No purchase necessary.  Void where prohibited.


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Your Moderator

Meet the Praxair Sponsors 

Amer Akhras - Praxair



Amer Akhras
Helium - General Manager


Dante Bonaquist - Praxair



Dante Bonaquist
Senior Corporate Fellow      



Michael Dray - Praxair



Michael Dray
Helium - Technology Director      



Todd Skare - Praxair



Todd Skare

Chief Technology Officer