Energy & Green Tech

Scientists develop new eco-technologies for hydrogen production

Employees of Samara Polytech University, the specialists from the Department of Gas Processing, Hydrogen and Special Technologies and the Research Center "Fundamental Problems of Thermophysics and Mechanics," conducted theoretical ...

Energy & Green Tech

Hydrogen from natural gas without carbon dioxide emissions

Methane pyrolysis will allow for the future climate-friendly use of fossil natural gas. Methane is separated into gaseous hydrogen and solid carbon that is a valuable material for various industry branches and can also be ...


Electrified methane reformer produces far less carbon dioxide

A team of researchers from several institutions in Denmark, along with colleagues from Sintex and Haldor Topsoe, has developed an electrified methane reformer that produces far less CO2 than conventional steam-methane reformers. ...

Energy & Green Tech

Making fuel out of thick air

Scientists hoping to develop new energy resources have long pursued the goal of directly converting methane, a simple and abundant chemical found in natural gas, into a usable fuel such as methanol. Until now, scientists ...

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Methane is a chemical compound with the molecular 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 and its clean burning process 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 was discovered and isolated by Alessandro Volta between 1776 and 1778 when studying marsh gas from Lake Maggiore.

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). 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.

The abundance of methane in the Earth's atmosphere in 1998 was 1745 parts per billion, up from 700 ppb in 1750. Methane can trap about 20 times the heat of CO2. In the same time period, CO2 increased from 278 to 365 parts per million. The radiative forcing effect due to this increase in methane abundance is about one-third of that of the CO2 increase. In addition, there is a large, but unknown, amount of methane in methane clathrates in the ocean floors. The Earth's crust contains huge amounts of methane. Large amounts of methane are produced anaerobically by methanogenesis. Other sources include mud volcanoes, which are connected with deep geological faults, and livestock (primarily cows) from enteric fermentation.

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