Helium gas shortage risks popping WD’s drive plans
Western Digital’s HGST subsidiary may not have picked the best time to have a breakthrough in hard-disk drive innovation.
After a decade of trying, HGST recently perfected a method to seal helium gas inside drives. The company is preparing to launch a line of hard drives filled with the gas, which it says will drastically reduce internal friction and thus lower power consumption by 23% while increasing capacity by 40%.
Currently, however, helium reserves in the U.S., which supplies 75% of world’s annual demand for 6.2 billion cubic feet, are at an all-time low. Under current conditions, the largest U.S. reserve will only last another five to six years unless additional supplies are brought on line.
HGST told Computerworld that the helium it would be using would cost mere pennies per drive.
We need more helium and it only comes from natural gas fields. And then its release allows it to escape the Earth’s atmosphiere.
But there is helium on the moon and some asteroids. So we need more space explorations in order to maintain our hard drive efficiencies and party balloons.