Methane gas is used as a common fuel source and is the primary component of a natural gas. It is extremely important to be careful while dealing with it since if the methane is allowed to leak into the air before getting used; it absorbs the light of the sun and warms up the atmosphere. For this very reason itself, it is known to be a greenhouse gas.
Even though methane gas does not stay in the atmosphere for as long as the carbon dioxide, it is far more dangerous to the climate owing to the fact that it very quickly and efficiently absorbs heat. The long term effects of its short term temperatures are irreversible. For example, the melting of the sea ice in the Artic.
Methane gas is said to be 84 times more potent than the carbon dioxide gas. Methane gas comes from various sources which can be natural or man-made. But a major portion of it comes from the industrial emissions in the oil and gas industry.
Methane gas is colourless and odourless. Methane consists of one carbon molecule that is surrounded by four hydrogen molecules. Methane is considered to be an important fuel source which produces lesser greenhouse gases when burned when compared to coal or oil.
Methane can be produced by the biological decomposition of the organic matter at the shallow depths. Example, swamps, landfills and even the shallow bedrocks. Methane is also derived after millions of years by high pressure and high temperature processes.
Methane gas can migrate or move into the water well along with the groundwater under the right conditions. It can prove to be flammable when there is accumulation of the high concentrations of methane in the water well. Such dangers can be avoided or prevented if there is enhancement in the venting of the well casing and by removing any ignition sources.
Natural methane is only found below the ground and also under the sea floor. After it reaches the surface along with the atmosphere, it is called as the atmospheric methane. Methane gas is open to combustion, steam reforming and also halogenations.
USES OF METHANE GAS
Methane gas can be used as a fuel for ovens, water heaters, kilns, homes and automobiles.
Methane can be transported as a refrigerated liquid. Gas pipelines distribute natural gases in which methane is the primary component.
Methane can also be used for the generation of electricity by burning it as a fuel in either a steam generator or a gas turbine.