The Azimuth Project
Methane (Rev #1)

Contents

Idea

This page is about methane, a fuel and a greenhouse gas.

Basic chemistry and use as a fuel

Methane is a chemical compound with the chemical formula CH4. It is the simplest alkane, and the principal component of natural gas. Methane’s bond angles are 109.5 degrees. Burning methane in the presence of oxygen produces carbon dioxide and water. The relative abundance of methane makes it an attractive fuel. However, because it is a gas at normal temperature and pressure, methane is difficult to transport from its source. In its natural gas form, it is generally transported in bulk by pipeline or LNG carriers; few countries transport it by truck.

Methane as a greenhouse gas

Methane is a relatively potent greenhouse gas. Compared with carbon dioxide, it has a high global warming potential of 72 (calculated over a period of 20 years) or 25 (for a time period of 100 years).[2] It has a net lifetime of about 10 years [3] and is primarily removed by reaction with hydroxyl radicals in the atmosphere, producing carbon dioxide and water.

References

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