Methane is the main component of natural gas. Its dual nature, both as a pollutant and as a product, requires efforts to control its emissions that can benefit both the environment and the economy.
Methane, when fused, can be used either as a fuel or as a chemical feedstock. When used as a fuel it has many advantages over other hydrocarbons. When it is liquefied, it can be moved and exported to meet energy needs at a distance from its source.
Methane is cleaner fuel. It emits, on average, about half of the carbon dioxide (CO2) in relation to the combustion of coal. It also presents a quarter of emission reductions in relation to oil burning when used in a typical power plant.
During combustion, no pollutants such as mercury, sulfur dioxide or solid particles are emitted. Finally, emissions of nitrogen oxides per unit of energy are significantly reduced in relation to coal and oil.
The increased use of natural gas in recent years makes methane an important element of the energy supply of countries.
Methane is also used as a chemical raw material for the production of a range of household and industrial products such as plastics, antifreeze, fertilizers, and fabrics.