^BMethane molecule.^b Computer model of a methane molecule (CH4). Atoms are represented as spheres and are colour-coded: carbon (grey) and hydrogen (white). Methane, an alkane, is a colourless, odourless gas. It is the chief constituent of natural gas, which is used as a fuel. It can be formed by the decay of vegetable matter. When released into the atmosphere, methane traps the heat of the Sun, acting as a greenhouse gas and contributing to global warming.
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