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What is methane?


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December 21, 2009 10:51AM

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. Methane is a relatively potent greenhouse gas with a high global warming potential of 72 (averaged over 20 years) or 25 (averaged over 100 years).[1] Methane in the atmosphere is eventually oxidized, producing carbon dioxide and water. As a result, methane in the atmosphere has a half life of seven years.