PerspectiveChemistry

Low-Temperature Oxidation of Methane

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Science  10 Aug 2012:
Vol. 337, Issue 6095, pp. 659-660
DOI: 10.1126/science.1226310

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Summary

Since automobile emissions standards were written into the U.S. Clean Air Act of 1970, methane has been absent from the list of pollutants covered by such regulations (14) because it is unreactive in photochemical smog-generating reactions. Today we understand that methane is a potent greenhouse gas. Future transportation emission standards are therefore expected to include methane. On page 713 of this issue, Cargnello et al. (5) report a new approach in catalyst structure that may help to address methane emissions in the automobile exhaust within the temperature range required for emission control. Low-temperature methane combustion is also important for catalyst-assisted combustion in gas turbines fueled with natural gas.