Question: Helium alternative

mrw0116 is asking a question about balloon-mapping
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by mrw0116 | November 10, 2017 16:16 | #15172

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?


Hi! There's some stuff up on this page about using hydrogen, but there are a lot of valid concerns about safety:

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

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:


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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