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Methane is the simplest member of the alkane group (CnH2n+2). Under normal conditions, it is a colorless, odorless, flammable gas. Methane is insoluble in water and forms explosive mixtures with air. It burns in the presence of oxygen to form carbon dioxide and water. It occurs naturally as the main component of natural gas, among other things. Since it exists in large quantities in deposits, it is an attractive source of energy. Methane serves as a heating gas and is used in the chemical industry as a starting material for technical syntheses.
The gas is produced in considerable quantities by biological processes and is the main component of biogas. Other sources, such as forest fires or volcanic eruptions also release methane.

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