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Methane
Methane
(US: /ˈmɛθeɪn/ or UK: /ˈmiːθeɪn/) 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. The relative abundance of methane on Earth
Earth
makes it an attractive fuel, though capturing and storing it poses challenges due to its gaseous state under normal conditions for temperature and pressure. Natural methane is found both below ground and under the sea floor. When it reaches the surface and the atmosphere, it is known as atmospheric methane.[6] The Earth's atmospheric methane concentration has increased by about 150% since 1750, and it accounts for 20% of the total radiative forcing from all of the long-lived and globally mixed greenhouse gases.[7][dubious – discuss]

Contents

1 History 2 Properties and bonding 3 Chemical reactions

3.1 Acid-base reactions 3.2 Combustion 3.3 Reactions with halogens

4 Uses

4.1 Fuel

4.1.1 Natural gas 4.1.2 Liquefied natural gas 4.1.3 Liquid-methane rocket fuel

4.2 Chemical feedstock

5 Generation

5.1 Geological routes 5.2 Biological routes 5.3 Industrial routes

5.3.1 Laboratory synthesis

6 Occurrence

6.1 Alternative sources 6.2 Atmospheric methane 6.3 Clathrates

7 Anaerobic oxidation of methane 8 Safety 9 Extraterrestrial methane 10 See also 11 Notes 12 References 13 External links

History[edit] In November 1776, methane was first scientifically identified by Italian physicist Alessandro Volta
Alessandro Volta
in the marshes of Lake Maggiore straddling Italy
Italy
and Switzerland. Volta was inspired to search for the substance after reading a paper written by Benjamin Franklin
Benjamin Franklin
about "flammable air".[8] Volta collected the gas rising from the marsh, and by 1778 had isolated the pure gas.[9] He also demonstrated that the gas could be ignited with an electric spark.[9] The name "methane" was coined in 1866 by the German chemist August Wilhelm von Hofmann.[10] The name was derived from methanol. Properties and bonding[edit] Methane
Methane
is a tetrahedral molecule with four equivalent C–H bonds. Its electronic structure is described by four bonding molecular orbitals (MOs) resulting from the overlap of the valence orbitals on C and H. The lowest energy MO is the result of the overlap of the 2s orbital on carbon with the in-phase combination of the 1s orbitals on the four hydrogen atoms. Above this energy level is a triply degenerate set of MOs that involve overlap of the 2p orbitals on carbon with various linear combinations of the 1s orbitals on hydrogen. The resulting "three-over-one" bonding scheme is consistent with photoelectron spectroscopic measurements. At room temperature and standard pressure, methane is a colorless, odorless gas.[11] The familiar smell of natural gas as used in homes is achieved by the addition of an odorant, usually blends containing tert-butylthiol, as a safety measure. Methane
Methane
has a boiling point of −164 °C (−257.8 °F) at a pressure of one atmosphere.[12] As a gas it is flammable over a range of concentrations (5.4–17%) in air at standard pressure. Solid methane exists in several modifications. Presently nine are known.[13] Cooling methane at normal pressure results in the formation of methane I. This substance crystallizes in the cubic system (space group Fm3m). The positions of the hydrogen atoms are not fixed in methane I, i.e. methane molecules may rotate freely. Therefore, it is a plastic crystal.[14] Chemical reactions[edit] The primary chemical reactions of methane are combustion, steam reforming to syngas, and halogenation. In general, methane reactions are difficult to control. Partial oxidation to methanol, for example, is challenging because the reaction typically progresses all the way to carbon dioxide and water even with an insufficient supply of oxygen. The enzyme methane monooxygenase produces methanol from methane, but cannot be used for industrial-scale reactions.[15] Acid-base reactions[edit] Like other hydrocarbons, methane is a very weak acid. Its pKa in DMSO is estimated to be 56.[16] It cannot be deprotonated in solution, but the conjugate base with methyllithium is known. A variety of positive ions derived from methane have been observed, mostly as unstable species in low-pressure gas mixtures. These include methenium or methyl cation CH+ 3, methane cation CH+ 4, and methanium or protonated methane CH+ 5. Some of these have been detected in outer space. Methanium
Methanium
can also be produced as diluted solutions from methane with superacids. Cations with higher charge, such as CH2+ 6 and CH3+ 7, have been studied theoretically and conjectured to be stable.[17] Despite the strength of its C–H bonds, there is intense interest in catalysts that facilitate C–H bond activation
C–H bond activation
in methane (and other lower numbered alkanes).[18] Combustion[edit]

Methane
Methane
burns easily.

Methane's heat of combustion is 55.5 MJ/kg.[19] Combustion
Combustion
of methane is a multiple step reaction summarized as follows:

CH4 + 2 O2 → CO2 + 2 H2O (ΔH = −891 kJ/mol, at standard conditions)

Reactions with halogens[edit] Given appropriate conditions, methane reacts with halogens as follows:

X2 + UV → 2 X• X• + CH4 → HX + CH3• CH3• + X2 → CH3X + X•

where X is a halogen: fluorine (F), chlorine (Cl), bromine (Br), or iodine (I). This mechanism for this process is called free radical halogenation. It is initiated with UV light or some other radical initiator. A chlorine atom is generated from elemental chlorine, which abstracts a hydrogen atom from methane, resulting in the formation of hydrogen chloride. The resulting methyl radical, CH3•, can combine with another chlorine molecule to give methyl chloride (CH3Cl) and a chlorine atom. This chlorine atom can then react with another methane (or methyl chloride) molecule, repeating the chlorination cycle.[20] Similar reactions can produce dichloromethane (CH2Cl2), chloroform (CHCl3), and, ultimately, carbon tetrachloride (CCl4), depending upon reaction conditions and the chlorine to methane ratio. Uses[edit] Methane
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. Gas
Gas
pipelines distribute large amounts of natural gas, of which methane is the principal component. Fuel[edit] Methane
Methane
is used as a fuel for ovens, homes, water heaters, kilns, automobiles,[21][22] turbines, and other things. It combusts with oxygen to create heat, as demonstrated by a British inventor in a 1974 film of the National Film Board of Canada.[23] Natural gas[edit] Main article: natural gas Methane
Methane
is important for electricity generation by burning it as a fuel in a gas turbine or steam generator. Compared to other hydrocarbon fuels, methane produces less carbon dioxide for each unit of heat released. At about 891 kJ/mol, methane's heat of combustion is lower than any other hydrocarbon but the ratio of the heat of combustion (891 kJ/mol) to the molecular mass (16.0 g/mol, of which 12.0 g/mol is carbon) shows that methane, being the simplest hydrocarbon, produces more heat per mass unit (55.7 kJ/g) than other complex hydrocarbons. In many cities, methane is piped into homes for domestic heating and cooking. In this context it is usually known as natural gas, which is considered to have an energy content of 39 megajoules per cubic meter, or 1,000 BTU per standard cubic foot. Methane
Methane
in the form of compressed natural gas is used as a vehicle fuel and is claimed to be more environmentally friendly than other fossil fuels such as gasoline/petrol and diesel.[22] Research into adsorption methods of methane storage for use as an automotive fuel has been conducted.[24]

Expensive LNG
LNG
tankers are required to transport methane.

Liquefied natural gas[edit] Main article: Liquefied natural gas Liquefied natural gas
Liquefied natural gas
(LNG) is natural gas (predominantly methane, CH4) that has been converted to liquid form for ease of storage or transport. Liquefied natural gas
Liquefied natural gas
occupies about 1/600th the volume of natural gas in the gaseous state. It is odorless, colorless, non-toxic and non-corrosive. Hazards include flammability after vaporization into a gaseous state, freezing, and asphyxia. The liquefaction process involves removal of certain components, such as dust, acid gases, helium, water, and heavy hydrocarbons, which could cause difficulty downstream. The natural gas is then condensed into a liquid at close to atmospheric pressure (maximum transport pressure set at around 25 kPa or 3.6 psi) by cooling it to approximately −162 °C (−260 °F).[citation needed] LNG
LNG
achieves a higher reduction in volume than compressed natural gas (CNG) so that the energy density of LNG
LNG
is 2.4 times greater than that of CNG or 60% that of diesel fuel.[25] This makes LNG
LNG
cost efficient to transport over long distances where pipelines do not exist. Specially designed cryogenic sea vessels ( LNG
LNG
carriers) or cryogenic road tankers are used for its transport. Methane
Methane
must be cooled below its critical temperature of -82.3 °C in order to be liquified under pressure.[26] LNG, when it is not highly refined for special uses, is principally used for transporting natural gas to markets, where it is regasified and distributed as pipeline natural gas. It is used in LNG-fueled road vehicles. However, it remains more common to design vehicles to use compressed natural gas. As of 2002[update], the relatively higher cost of LNG
LNG
production and the need to store LNG
LNG
in more expensive cryogenic tanks had slowed widespread commercial use.[27] Natural gas
Natural gas
located far from its user base is often released into the atmosphere of flared. Some is subjected to gas to liquids technologies (GTL) to produce liquid fuels, which are more readily transported than methane. Liquid-methane rocket fuel[edit] Refined liquid methane is used as a rocket fuel.[28] Methane
Methane
is reported to offer the advantage over kerosene of depositing less carbon on the internal parts of rocket motors, reducing the difficulty of re-use of boosters. Methane
Methane
is abundant in many parts of the Solar system
Solar system
and potentially could be harvested on the surface of another solar-system body (in particular, using methane production from local materials found on Mars[29] or Titan), providing fuel for a return journey.[28][30] Chemical feedstock[edit] Methane
Methane
is converted to synthesis gas, a mixture of carbon monoxide and hydrogen, by steam reforming. This endergonic process (requiring energy) utilizes catalysts and requires high temperatures, around 700–1100 °C:

CH4 + H2O → CO + 3 H2

Methane
Methane
is also subjected to free-radical chlorination in the production of chloromethanes, although methanol is a more typical precursor.[31] Generation[edit] See also: Biogeochemistry

Geological routes[edit] There are two main routes for geological methane generation, organic (thermogenic), and inorganic (abiotic, meaning non-living). Thermally generated methane, referred to as thermogenic, originates from deeper sedimentary strata. Thermogenic methane (CH4) formation occurs due to the breakup of organic matter, forced by elevated temperatures and pressures. This type of methane is considered to be the primary methane type in sedimentary basins, and from an economical perspective the most important source of natural gas. Thermogenic methane components are generally considered to be relic (from an earlier time). Generally, formation of thermogenic methane (at depth) can occur through organic matter breakup, or organic synthesis. Both ways can involve microorganisms (methanogenesis) but may also occur inorganically. The involved anaerobic and aerobic processes can also consume methane, with and without microorganisms. The more important source of methane at depth (crystalline bedrock) is abiotic. Abiotic means that the methane formation took place involving inorganic compounds, without biological activity, magmatic or created at low temperatures and pressures through water-rock reactions.[32][33] Biological routes[edit] Main article: methanogenesis Naturally occurring methane is mainly produced by microbial methanogenesis.[citation needed] This multistep process is used by microorganisms as an energy source. The net reaction is

CO2 + 8 H+ + 8 e− → CH4 + 2 H2O

The final step in the process is catalyzed by the enzyme Coenzyme-B sulfoethylthiotransferase. Methanogenesis
Methanogenesis
is a form of anaerobic respiration used by organisms that occupy landfill, ruminants (e.g., cattle), and the guts of termites. It is uncertain whether plants are a source of methane emissions.[34][35][36] Industrial routes[edit] There are many technological methane production methods. Methane created from biomass in industrial plants via biological route is called biogas. A more synthetic method to produce methane is hydrogenating carbon dioxide through the Sabatier process. Methane
Methane
is also a side product of the hydrogenation of carbon monoxide in the Fischer–Tropsch process, which is practiced on a large scale to produce longer-chain molecules than methane. Example of large-scale coal-to-methane gasification is the Great Plains Synfuels plant, started in 1984 in Beulah, North Dakota as a way to develop abundant local resources of low-grade lignite, a resource that is otherwise very hard to transport for its weight, ash content, low calorific value and propensity to spontaneous combustion during storage and transport. Power to methane is a technology that uses electrical power to produce hydrogen from water by electrolysis and uses the Sabatier reaction to combine hydrogen with carbon dioxide to produce methane. As of 2016, this is mostly under development and not in large-scale use. Theoretically, the process could be used as a buffer for excess and off-peak power generated by highly fluctuating wind generators and solar arrays. The conversion efficiency of power to methane is 49–65%, and full power–methane–power cycle is 30–38%. Laboratory synthesis[edit] Although methane can in principle be produced by a variety of forcing methods, it is conveniently generated by protonation of methyl lithium and methylmagnesium iodide. Occurrence[edit] Methane
Methane
was discovered and isolated by Alessandro Volta
Alessandro Volta
between 1776 and 1778 when studying marsh gas from Lake Maggiore. It is the major component of natural gas, about 87% by volume. The major source of methane is extraction from geological deposits known as natural gas fields, with coal seam gas extraction becoming a major source (see Coal
Coal
bed methane extraction, a method for extracting methane from a coal deposit, while enhanced coal bed methane recovery is a method of recovering methane from non-mineable coal seams). It is associated with other hydrocarbon fuels, and sometimes accompanied by helium and nitrogen. Methane
Methane
is produced at shallow levels (low pressure) by anaerobic decay of organic matter and reworked methane from deep under the Earth's surface. In general, the sediments that generate natural gas are buried deeper and at higher temperatures than those that contain oil. Methane
Methane
is generally transported in bulk by pipeline in its natural gas form, or LNG
LNG
carriers in its liquefied form; few countries transport it by truck. Alternative sources[edit]

Testing Australian sheep for exhaled methane production (2001), CSIRO

Apart from gas fields, an alternative method of obtaining methane is via biogas generated by the fermentation of organic matter including manure, wastewater sludge, municipal solid waste (including landfills), or any other biodegradable feedstock, under anaerobic conditions. Rice
Rice
fields also generate large amounts of methane during plant growth. Methane
Methane
hydrates/clathrates (ice-like combinations of methane and water on the sea floor, found in vast quantities) are a potential future source of methane. Cattle belch methane accounts for 16% of the world's annual methane emissions to the atmosphere.[37] One study reported that the livestock sector in general (primarily cattle, chickens, and pigs) produces 37% of all human-induced methane.[38] Early research has found a number of medical treatments and dietary adjustments that help slightly limit the production of methane in ruminants.[39][40] A 2009 study found that at a conservative estimate, at least 51% of global greenhouse gas emissions were attributable to the life cycle and supply chain of livestock products, meaning all meat, dairy, and by-products, and their transportation.[41] More recently, a 2013 study estimated that livestock accounted for 44 percent of human-induced methane and 14.5 percent of human-induced greenhouse gas emissions.[42] Many efforts are underway to reduce livestock methane production and trap the gas to use as energy.[43] Paleoclimatology
Paleoclimatology
research published in Current Biology suggests that flatulence from dinosaurs may have warmed the Earth.[44] Atmospheric methane[edit]

Main article: Atmospheric methane

Methane
Methane
concentrations up to March 2018 (Mauna Loa)

In 2010, methane levels in the Arctic were measured at 1850 nmol/mol. This level is over twice as high as at any time in the 400,000 years. Historic methane concentrations in the world's atmosphere have ranged between 300 and 400 nmol/mol during glacial periods commonly known as ice ages, and between 600 and 700 nmol/mol during the warm interglacial periods. The Earth's oceans are a potential important source of Arctic methane.[45] Methane
Methane
is an important greenhouse gas with a global warming potential of 34 compared to CO2 over a 100-year period, and 72 over a 20-year period.[46][47] The Earth's atmospheric methane concentration has increased by about 150% since 1750, and it accounts for 20% of the total radiative forcing from all of the long-lived and globally mixed greenhouse gases (these gases don't include water vapor which is by far the largest component of the greenhouse effect).[7] Clathrates[edit] Methane
Methane
is essentially insoluble in water, but significant deposits of methane clathrate have been found under sediments on the ocean floors of Earth
Earth
at large depths. Estimates consider up to 15,000 gigatonnes of carbon may be stored in the form of clathrates (hydrates) in the ocean floor, not accounting for abiotic methane, a relatively newly discovered source of methane, formed below the ocean floor, in the earth crust.[48] It has been suggested, that today's methane emission regime from the ocean floor, is potentially similar to that during the PETM.[49] Arctic methane release
Arctic methane release
from permafrost and methane clathrates is an expected consequence and further cause of global warming.[50][51][52] Anaerobic oxidation of methane[edit] There is a group of bacteria that drive methane oxidation with nitrite as the oxidant, the anaerobic oxidation of methane.[53] Safety[edit] Methane
Methane
is nontoxic, yet it is extremely flammable and may form explosive mixtures with air. Methane
Methane
is also an asphyxiant if the oxygen concentration is reduced to below about 16% by displacement, as most people can tolerate a reduction from 21% to 16% without ill effects. The concentration of methane at which asphyxiation risk becomes significant is much higher than the 5–15% concentration in a flammable or explosive mixture. Methane
Methane
off-gas can penetrate the interiors of buildings near landfills and expose occupants to significant levels of methane. Some buildings have specially engineered recovery systems below their basements to actively capture this gas and vent it away from the building. Methane
Methane
gas explosions are responsible for many deadly mining disasters.[54] A methane gas explosion was the cause of the Upper Big Branch coal mine disaster in West Virginia
West Virginia
on April 5, 2010, killing 29.[55] Extraterrestrial methane[edit] Main article: extraterrestrial atmosphere Methane
Methane
has been detected or is believed to exist on all planets of the solar system and most of the larger moons. With the possible exception of Mars, it is believed to have come from abiotic processes.[56][57]

Methane
Methane
(CH4) on Mars
Mars
– potential sources and sinks.

Methane
Methane
has been proposed as a possible rocket propellant on future Mars
Mars
missions due in part to the possibility of synthesizing it on the planet by in situ resource utilization.[58] An adaptation of the Sabatier methanation reaction may be used with a mixed catalyst bed and a reverse water-gas shift in a single reactor to produce methane from the raw materials available on Mars, utilizing water from the Martian subsoil and carbon dioxide in the Martian atmosphere.[29] Methane
Methane
could be produced by a non-biological process called ’'serpentinization[a] involving water, carbon dioxide, and the mineral olivine, which is known to be common on Mars.[59] See also[edit]

Sustainable development portal

2007 Zasyadko mine disaster Abiogenic petroleum origin Aerobic methane production Anaerobic digestion Anaerobic respiration Arctic methane emissions Biogas Coal
Coal
Oil Point seep field Energy density Gas Global Methane
Methane
Initiative Greenhouse gas Halomethane, halogenated methane derivatives. Industrial gas Lake Kivu
Lake Kivu
(more general: limnic eruption) List of straight-chain alkanes Methanation Methane
Methane
clathrate, ice that contains methane. Methane
Methane
(data page) Methane
Methane
on Mars: atmosphere Methane
Methane
on Mars: climate Methanogen, archaea that produce methane. Methanogenesis, microbes that produce methane. Methanotroph, bacteria that grow with methane. Methyl group, a functional group related to methane. Thomas Gold

Notes[edit]

^ There are many serpentinization reactions. Olivine
Olivine
is a solid solution between forsterite and fayalite whose general formula is (Fe,Mg)2SiO4. The reaction producing methane from olivine can be written as: Forsterite
Forsterite
+ Fayalite
Fayalite
+ Water
Water
+ Carbonic acid → Serpentine + Magnetite + Methane
Methane
, or (in balanced form): 18 Mg2SiO4 + 6 Fe2SiO4 + 26 H2O + CO2 → 12 Mg3Si2O5(OH)4 + 4 Fe3O4 + CH4

References[edit]

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Discovered In The Arctic Ocean". CAGE.  ^ Ruppel and Kessler (2017). "The interaction of climate change and methane hydrates". Reviews of Geophysics. 55: 126–168. doi:10.1002/2016RG000534. CS1 maint: Uses authors parameter (link) ^ " Methane
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Releases From Arctic Shelf May Be Much Larger and Faster Than Anticipated" (Press release). National Science Foundation (NSF). March 10, 2010.  ^ Connor, Steve (December 13, 2011). "Vast methane 'plumes' seen in Arctic ocean as sea ice retreats". The Independent.  ^ "Arctic sea ice reaches lowest extent for the year and the satellite record" (Press release). The National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC). September 19, 2012.  ^ Reimann, Joachim; Jetten, Mike S.M.; Keltjens, Jan T. (2015). "Chapter 7 Metal Enzymes in "Impossible" Microorganisms Catalyzing the Anaerobic Oxidation of Ammonium
Ammonium
and Methane". In Peter M.H. Kroneck and Martha E. Sosa Torres. Sustaining Life on Planet Earth: Metalloenzymes Mastering Dioxygen and Other Chewy Gases. Metal Ions in Life Sciences. 15. Springer. pp. 257–313. doi:10.1007/978-3-319-12415-5_7.  ^ Dozolme, Philippe. "Common Mining Accidents". About.com.  ^ Lawrence Messina & Greg Bluestein (April 8, 2010). "Fed official: Still too soon for W.Va. mine rescue". News.yahoo.com. Retrieved April 8, 2010.  ^ Chang, Kenneth (November 2, 2012). "Hope of Methane
Methane
on Mars
Mars
Fades". New York Times. Retrieved November 3, 2012.  ^ Atreya, Sushil K.; Mahaffy, Paul R.; Wong, Ah-San (2007). "Methane and related trace species on Mars: origin, loss, implications for life, and habitability". Planetary and Space Science. 55 (3): 358–369. doi:10.1016/j.pss.2006.02.005. CS1 maint: Uses authors parameter (link) ^ Richardson, Derek (2016-09-27). "Elon Musk Shows Off Interplanetary Transport System". Spaceflight Insider. Retrieved 2016-10-03.  ^ Oze, C.; Sharma, M. (2005). "Have olivine, will gas: Serpentinization and the abiogenic production of methane on Mars". Geophysical Research Letters. 32 (10): L10203. Bibcode:2005GeoRL..3210203O. doi:10.1029/2005GL022691. 

External links[edit]

Wikimedia Commons has media related to Methane.

Look up methane in Wiktionary, the free dictionary.

Methane
Methane
at The Periodic Table of Videos
The Periodic Table of Videos
(University of Nottingham) International Chemical Safety Card 0291 Gas
Gas
(Methane) Hydrates -- A New Frontier – United States Geological Survey Catalytic conversion of methane to more useful chemicals and fuels: a challenge for the 21st century – Catalysis Today CDC – Handbook for Methane
Methane
Control in Mining

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Alkanes

Methane
Methane
(CH 4) Ethane (C 2H 6) Propane
Propane
(C 3H 8) Butane
Butane
(C 4H 10) Pentane
Pentane
(C 5H 12) Hexane
Hexane
(C 6H 14) Heptane
Heptane
(C 7H 16) Octane
Octane
(C 8H 18) Nonane
Nonane
(C 9H 20) Decane
Decane
(C 10H 22) Undecane
Undecane
(C 11H 24) Dodecane
Dodecane
(C 12H 26) Tridecane
Tridecane
(C 13H 28) Tetradecane
Tetradecane
(C 14H 30) Pentadecane
Pentadecane
(C 15H 32) Hexadecane
Hexadecane
/ Cetane (C 16H 34) Heptadecane
Heptadecane
(C 17H 36) Octadecane
Octadecane
(C 18H 38) Nonadecane
Nonadecane
(C 19H 40) Icosane
Icosane
(C 20H 42) Heneicosane
Heneicosane
(C 21H 44) Tetracosane
Tetracosane
(C 24H 50) Nonacosane
Nonacosane
(C 29H 60) Hentriacontane
Hentriacontane
(C 31H 64)

Higher alkanes List of alkanes

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Fuel
Fuel
gas

Types

Manufactured fuel gas (History)

Coal
Coal
gas

Coal
Coal
gasification Underground coal gasification

Biogas Blast furnace gas Blau gas Gasification Landfill
Landfill
gas Mond gas Pintsch gas Producer gas Regasification Syngas Water
Water
gas Wood gas

Natural gas

APG CBM CNG HCNG LNG NGC SNG

Bio-SNG

LPG

Autogas Butane Propane

Infrastructure

Compressor station Gas
Gas
carrier Gas
Gas
holder Gas
Gas
meter Gasworks Natural-gas processing Natural gas
Natural gas
storage Odorizer Pipeline transport

Uses

Bunsen burner Gas
Gas
burner Gas
Gas
engine Gas
Gas
heater Gas
Gas
lighting

Gas
Gas
mantle

Gas
Gas
stove Gas
Gas
turbine Pilot light

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Molecules detected in outer space

Molecules

Diatomic

Aluminium monochloride Aluminium monofluoride Aluminium monoxide Argonium Carbon
Carbon
monophosphide Carbon
Carbon
monosulfide Carbon
Carbon
monoxide Carborundum Cyanogen
Cyanogen
radical Diatomic carbon Fluoromethylidynium Hydrogen
Hydrogen
chloride Hydrogen
Hydrogen
fluoride Hydrogen
Hydrogen
(molecular) Hydroxyl radical Iron(II) oxide Magnesium monohydride
Magnesium monohydride
cation Methylidyne radical Nitric oxide Nitrogen
Nitrogen
(molecular) Nitrogen
Nitrogen
monohydride Nitrogen
Nitrogen
sulfide Oxygen
Oxygen
(molecular) Phosphorus monoxide Phosphorus mononitride Potassium chloride Silicon carbide Silicon mononitride Silicon monoxide Silicon monosulfide Sodium chloride Sodium iodide Sulfur monohydride Sulfur monoxide Titanium oxide

Triatomic

Aluminium hydroxide Aluminium isocyanide Amino radical Carbon
Carbon
dioxide Carbonyl sulfide CCP radical Chloronium Diazenylium Dicarbon monoxide Disilicon carbide Ethynyl radical Formyl radical Hydrogen
Hydrogen
cyanide (HCN) Hydrogen
Hydrogen
isocyanide (HNC) Hydrogen
Hydrogen
sulfide Hydroperoxyl Iron cyanide Isoformyl Magnesium cyanide Magnesium isocyanide Methylene radical N2H+ Nitrous oxide Nitroxyl Ozone Phosphaethyne Potassium cyanide Protonated molecular hydrogen Sodium cyanide Sodium hydroxide Silicon carbonitride c-Silicon dicarbide Silicon naphthalocyanine Sulfur dioxide Thioformyl Thioxoethenylidene Titanium dioxide Tricarbon Water

Four atoms

Acetylene Ammonia Cyanic acid Cyanoethynyl Cyclopropynylidyne Formaldehyde Fulminic acid HCCN Hydrogen
Hydrogen
peroxide Hydromagnesium isocyanide Isocyanic acid Isothiocyanic acid Ketenyl Methylene amidogen Methyl radical Propynylidyne Protonated carbon dioxide Protonated hydrogen cyanide Silicon tricarbide Thioformaldehyde Tricarbon
Tricarbon
monoxide Tricarbon
Tricarbon
sulfide Thiocyanic acid

Five atoms

Ammonium
Ammonium
ion Butadiynyl Carbodiimide Cyanamide Cyanoacetylene Cyanoformaldehyde Cyanomethyl Cyclopropenylidene Formic acid Isocyanoacetylene Ketene Methane Methoxy
Methoxy
radical Methylenimine Propadienylidene Protonated formaldehyde Protonated formaldehyde Silane Silicon-carbide cluster

Six atoms

Acetonitrile Cyanobutadiynyl radical E-Cyanomethanimine Cyclopropenone Diacetylene Ethylene Formamide HC4N Ketenimine Methanethiol Methanol Methyl isocyanide Pentynylidyne Propynal Protonated cyanoacetylene

Seven atoms

Acetaldehyde Acrylonitrile

Vinyl cyanide

Cyanodiacetylene Ethylene
Ethylene
oxide Hexatriynyl radical Methylacetylene Methylamine Methyl isocyanate Vinyl alcohol

Eight atoms

Acetic acid Aminoacetonitrile Cyanoallene Ethanimine Glycolaldehyde Heptatrienyl radical Hexapentaenylidene Methylcyanoacetylene Methyl formate Propenal

Nine atoms

Acetamide Cyanohexatriyne Cyanotriacetylene Dimethyl ether Ethanol Methyldiacetylene Octatetraynyl radical Propene Propionitrile

Ten atoms or more

Acetone Benzene Benzonitrile Buckminsterfullerene
Buckminsterfullerene
(C60 fullerene, buckyball) C70 fullerene Cyanodecapentayne Cyanopentaacetylene Cyanotetra-acetylene Ethylene
Ethylene
glycol Ethyl formate Methyl acetate Methyl-cyano-diacetylene Methyltriacetylene Propanal n-Propyl cyanide Pyrimidine

Deuterated molecules

Ammonia Ammonium
Ammonium
ion Formaldehyde Formyl radical Heavy water Hydrogen
Hydrogen
cyanide Hydrogen
Hydrogen
deuteride Hydrogen
Hydrogen
isocyanide Methylacetylene N2D+ Trihydrogen cation

Unconfirmed

Anthracene Dihydroxyacetone Ethyl methyl ether Glycine Graphene H2NCO+ Linear C5 Naphthalene
Naphthalene
cation Phosphine Pyrene Silylidine

Related

Abiogenesis Astrobiology Astrochemistry Atomic and molecular astrophysics Chemical formula Circumstellar envelope Cosmic dust Cosmic ray Cosmochemistry Diffuse interstellar band Earliest known life forms Extraterrestrial life Extraterrestrial liquid water Forbidden mechanism Helium
Helium
hydride ion Homochirality Intergalactic dust Interplanetary medium Interstellar medium Photodissociation region Iron–sulfur world theory Kerogen Molecules in stars Nexus for Exoplanet System Science Organic compound Outer space PAH world hypothesis Panspermia Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon
Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon
(PAH) RNA world hypothesis Spectroscopy Tholin

Book:Chemistry Category:Astrochemistry Category:Molecules Portal:Astrobiology Portal:Astronomy Portal:Chemistry

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Binary compounds of hydrogen

Alkali metal hydrides

LiH NaH KH RbH CsH

Lithium hydride, LiH ionic metal hydride

Beryllium hydride Left (gas phase): BeH2 covalent metal hydride Right: (BeH2)n (solid phase) polymeric metal hydride

Borane
Borane
and diborane Left: BH3 (special conditions), covalent metalloid hydride Right: B2H6 (standard conditions), dimeric metalloid hydride

Methane, CH4 covalent nonmetal hydride

Ammonia, NH3 covalent nonmetal hydride

Water, H2O covalent nonmetal hydride

Hydrogen
Hydrogen
fluoride, HF covalent nonmetal hydride

Alkaline earth hydrides

Monohydrides

BeH MgH CaH SrH BaH

BeH2 MgH2 CaH2 SrH2 BaH2

Group 13 hydrides

Boranes

BH3 B2H6 B2H2 B2H4

Alanes

AlH3 Al2H6

Gallanes

GaH3 Ga2H6

Indiganes

InH3 In2H6

Thallanes

TlH3 Tl2H6

B2H2 B2H4 B4H10 B5H9 B5H11 B6H10 B6H12 B10H14 B18H22

Group 14 hydrides

Linear alkanes

CH4 C2H6 C3H8 C4H10 C5H12 C6H14 C7H16 C8H18 C9H20 C10H22 more...

Linear alkenes

C2H4 C3H6 C4H8 C5H10 C6H12 C7H14 C8H16 C9H18 C10H20 more...

Linear alkynes

C2H2 C3H4 C4H6 C5H8 C6H10 C7H12 C8H14 C9H16 C10H18 more...

Silanes

SiH4 Si2H6 Si3H8 Si4H10 Si5H12 Si6H14 Si7H16 Si8H18 Si9H20 Si10H22 more...

Silenes

Si2H4

Silynes

Si2H2

Germanes

GeH4 Ge2H6 Ge3H8 Ge4H10 Ge5H12

Stannanes

SnH4 Sn2H6

Plumbanes

PbH4

CH CH2 CH3 C2H Cycloalkanes Cycloalkenes Annulenes Many more

Pnictogen hydrides

Azanes

NH3 N2H4 N3H5 N4H6 N5H7 N6H8 N7H9 N8H10 N9H11 N10H12 more...

Azenes

N2H2 N3H3 N4H4

Phosphanes

PH3 P2H4 P3H5 P4H6 P5H7 P6H8 P7H9 P8H10 P9H11 P10H12 more...

Phosphenes

P2H2 P3H3 P4H4

Arsanes

AsH3 As2H4

Stibanes

SbH3

Bismuthanes

BiH3

HN3 NH

radical

Hydrogen
Hydrogen
chalcogenides

Polyoxidanes

H2O H2O2 H2O3 H2O4 H2O5 H2O6 H2O7 H2O8 H2O9 H2O10 more...

Polysulfanes

H2S H2S2 H2S3 H2S4 H2S5 H2S6 H2S7 H2S8 H2S9 H2S10 more...

Selanes

H2Se H2Se2

Tellanes

H2Te H2Te2

Polanes

PoH2

HO HO2 HO3 H2O+–O– H2S=S (HS)2S+–S– HS HDO D2O T2O

Hydrogen
Hydrogen
halides

HF HCl HBr HI HAt

Transition metal hydrides

ScH2 YH2 YH3 TiH2 ZrH2 HfH2 VH VH2 NbH NbH2 TaH CrH CrH2 CrHx NiH PdHx (x < 1) FeH FeH2 FeH5 CuH ZnH2 CdH2 HgH2

Lanthanide hydrides

LaH2 LaH3 CeH2 CeH3 PrH2 PrH3 NdH2 NdH3 SmH2 SmH3 EuH2 GdH2 GdH3 TbH2 TbH3 DyH2 DyH3 HoH2 HoH3 ErH2 ErH3 TmH2 TmH3 YbH2 YbH2.5 LuH2 LuH3

Actinide hydrides

AcH2 ThH2 Th4H15 PaH3 UH3 NpH2 NpH3 PuH2 PuH3 AmH2 AmH3 CmH2

Authority control

GND: 41696

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