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The simplest hydrocarbon, methane is a gas with a formula of CH4.

A principle component of natural gas, methane is a significant fuel. However, the strength of the carbon-hydrogen covalent bond in methane is among the strongest in all hydrocarbons, and thus limits its use as a chemical feedstock. The search for catalysts which can facilitate C-H bond activation in methane and other low alkanes is an area of research with significant industrial significance.

Methane is a greenhouse gas with a global warming potential of 22.