- "Yeah, a tibanna gas mine. Lando conned somebody out of it."
- ―Han Solo
Tibanna was a rare form of matter found in both gas and liquid form. In its natural state as a gas, tibanna comprised the atmospheres of several planets, most notably that of Bespin, where it was processed at Cloud City, and the planets Genarius, Kaer, Kril'Dor, Ord Ibanna, Rendili, Taloraan and Yorn Skot.
Tibanna gas was excreted by beldons, huge gas-filled creatures. The gas was a byproduct of the vapors consumed by beldons. Tibanna was extracted from Bespin's atmosphere as atmospheric gases rose on updrafts through Cloud City's unipod. The gas was then processed and packed in carbonite for transport off-planet.
Tibanna gas produced four times its normal energy output when cohesive light passed through it. Thus, spin-sealed (compacted at the atomic level) tibanna was used as a conducting agent in blasters and other energy weapons, producing greater energy yields and thus greater amounts of damage. Most personal weapons could not tolerate this power boost, but ship-mounted blasters benefited greatly from the use of tibanna gas. Exceptions to this were the DC series rifles of BlasTech Industries, which used tibanna gas to produce powerful ionized bolts that were damaging to both organics and droids, something that was crucial to winning the Clone Wars. Tibanna was also used to make a useful variant of the DC series ionized bolt, which made the weapons' energy output imperceptible to the naked eye.
The spin-sealing process was prohibitively expensive except on Bespin, where it occurred naturally. Non-spin-sealed tibanna gas was used as hyperdrive coolant.
Tibanna was often used as a heating fuel on many planets, though it had to be refined into a solid or liquid state to be useful. It was also used in its gas form to power blasters or other weaponry. A type called non-spin-sealed tibanna was used as hyperdrive coolant. When a sufficient quantity was integrated into an explosive device, the yield would increase enough to destroy an entire military base.[source?]
TibannaX was a special isotope of tibanna gas used in StealthXs. Its ion emissions cooled in several milliseconds, making the StealthX hard to track.
During the Clone Wars, Galactic Republic clone troopers used highly flammable liquid tibanna to heat their listening post on the Rishi moon. However, when B1-Series battle droids attacked the base, trooper Hevy used the liquid tibanna to destroy the outpost.
At some point during the mid-Galactic Civil War, the crime lord Tyber Zann stole a large quantity of tibanna from Bespin, pinning the theft on Prince Xizor, and made a large amount of money from selling it on the black market.
The Rebel Alliance's Rogue Squadron attacked a large supply of the Empire's gas, which was being mined from the gas giant Taloraan. The gas was a vital commodity for the Alliance prior to the Battle of Endor. Wedge Antilles and Rogue Squadron led an aerial assault on Cloud City, their primary objective being to secure as many tibanna gas platforms orbiting the city as possible.
In 14 ABY, Kril'Dor was the site of a New Republic mission to liberate a tibanna gas mining platform from the Imperial Remnant. Jaden Korr and Wedge Antilles participated in the successful mission.
By the time of the Dark Nest Crisis, tibanna gas was being stolen by Joiners for use in the Killik military buildup. TibannaX was also an important resource in the use of the Jedi-exclusive StealthX fighters. Xtib, the company that produced TibannaX, was later purchased by Bornaryn Trading.
Behind the scenes
Tibanna gas was created to provide a rational explanation as to how small hand blasters in the Star Wars galaxy could emit so much energy. Thus it was established that when coherent energy like laser light passes through the gas, the energy emitted is much greater than that of the original beam.
In modern day physics it is believed that, if humans will one day be able to mine large gas giant planets, the radioactive isotope of helium-3 would be even of more value to the future space economy than the fictional tibanna gas, because it could be used as a major fuel source for real world fusion reactors.