Methane is a chemical compound with the chemical formula CH4 (one atom of carbon and four atoms of hydrogen). It is a group 14 hydride and the simplest alkane, and is the main constituent of natural gas.
Methane is used in industrial chemical processes and may be transported as a refrigerated liquid (liquefied natural gas, or LNG).
- The main current chemical usage of methane is the production of synthesis gas (Syngas), H2 and CO via Steam Methane Reforming (SMR) of natural gas. Synthesis gas is then converted into methanol, oxo-alcohols, ammonia and hydrocarbons. Methylhalogenides (e.g. methylchloride), HCN and acetylene are also produced from methane.
- Methane is the main component of natural gas, a primary energy resource widely used in the energy sector for the production of heat and/or electricity. Natural gas as compressed natural gas (CNG) or liquefied natural gas (LNG) are increasingly used as fuels for vehicles to reduce transport emissions and improve air quality.
- Methane is a component of a gaseous mixture used for pulmonary function diagnosis test.
- Methane is used in calibration gas mixtures for petrochemical industry, environmental emission monitoring, industrial hygiene monitors and trace impurity analyzers. In mixture with argon, methane is used in Geiger counter and in X-ray fluorescence detector as quentching gas. In mixture with other hydrocarbons, methane is used as reference point in calorimetric measurements of hydrocarbons or coal.
- Methane provides carbon source to silicon film to adjust the light absorption bandgap in silicon thin film photovoltaics.
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