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What is Methane?

Methane is a chemical compound with the chemical formula CH4.

Methane is a colorless, odorless gas with a wide distribution in nature. It is the principal component of natural gas, a mixture containing about:

  • 75% methane (CH4)
  • 15% ethane (C2H6), and
  • 5% other hydrocarbons - such as propane (C3H8) and butane (C4H10). 

Anaerobic bacterial decomposition of plant and animal matter produces marsh gas which is also methane. In its natural state, methane is found both below ground, and under the sea floor. Methane is used in industrial chemical processes and may be transported as a refrigerated liquid (liquefied natural gas, or LNG). While leaks from a refrigerated liquid container are initially heavier than air due to the increased density of the cold gas, the gas at ambient temperature is lighter than air.

At room temperature, methane is a gas less dense than air. It melts at –183°C and boils at –164°C. It is not very soluble in water. Methane is combustible, and mixtures of about 5% to 15% in air are explosive. Methane is not toxic when inhaled, but it can produce suffocation by reducing the concentration of oxygen inhaled. A trace amount of smelly organic sulfur compounds (tertiary-butyl mercaptan, (CH3)3CSH and dimethyl sulfide, CH3–S–CH3) is typically added to give commercial natural gas a detectable odor. This is done to make gas leaks easily detectible. An undetected gas leak could result in an explosion or asphyxiation.

The principal use of methane is as a fuel. The combustion of methane is highly exothermic:

CH4(g) + 2O2(g) ------ CO2(g) + 2H2O(l)

 

 

 

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  2. Difference between a Turbo and Positive Displacement Blower
  3. The Difference between Methane and Natural Gas
  4. First Dairy Biogas Project in Connecticut
  5. Does Renewable Natural Gas Have a Future in Energy?
  6. Biogas Offtake Opportunities For Digesters
  7. Wisconsin Dairy Begins Production of Renewable Natural Gas
  8. Anaerobic Digestion Sector Forming a Clearer Picture
  9. Brightmark to Expand Western New York Dairy Biogas Project
  10. Biogas - The Energy Wonder That's Under Our Noses
  11. Power Generation Achieved by a Self-Assembled Biofuel Cell
  12. Less Carbon Dioxide from Natural Gas
  13. Project Uses Renewable Electricity for RNG Production
  14. Smithfield Hog Farm Provides Natural Gas to Missouri City
  15. From Waste to Gas
  16. Gas Clash Threatens Australian Export
  17. Maximizing Opportunities of Anaerobic Digestion from Wastewater
  18. Catalyst to Speed up Conversion of Biomass to Biofuel
  19. How It Works: Ethanol
  20. Anaerobic Digestion - the Next Big Renewable Energy Source
  21. Anaerobic Additions
  22. Three (3) Tech Solutions for Modern Landfills
  23. The Costs and Benefits of Anaerobic Digesters
  24. Bacteria Farts Power Wastewater Plant in Fort Wayne
  25. Europe’s First Poultry Manure Biogas Plant
  26. Electricity Using Pig Manure
  27. $38-Million Biodigester coming to Grand Rapids
  28. Biochar Could Benefit Anaerobic Digestion of Animal Manure
  29. Getting More out of Anaerobic Digestion
  30. Biogas prevents 20 million tonnes of CO2 emissions per year

 

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Difference between a Turbo and Positive Displacement Blower