Is Methane A Fossil Fuel?

Saturn’s moon Titan has more natural gas and other hydrocarbons on it than Earth. The assumption that most methane is a fossil fuel doesn’t make a lot of sense.

That being said, I did have a fraternity brother in the 1970’s who enjoyed lighting farts in the chapter house.

About stevengoddard

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37 Responses to Is Methane A Fossil Fuel?

  1. Steve Case says:

    Thanks for the Titan comment. Gives doubt to the flat out denial that petroleum is possibly non-biological in origin.

    • Gail Combs says:

      The Russians certainly think petroleum is abiotic and based on that have found a lot of oil and Natural gas.

      • bubbagyro says:

        Same with China and N Korea.
        Methane polymerizes to higher hydrocarbons (e.g. oil) under the temperature and pressure in and just beneath the crust, with iron and nickel catalysis. This has been demonstrated conclusively in the laboratory. Hitler knew this, and used a similar process to make synthetic fuels during the war. That is also why many depleted surface domes of oil are replenishing, and wells are producing oil now that were previously pumped dry. There is no peak oil. It is the perfect renewable energy source, according to many scientists in Russia and elsewhere.

  2. Andy DC says:

    If we are serious about controling evil methane, we must start by banning chili with Mexican beans! Otherwise, we are doomed!

    • says:

      Only by immediately instituting draconian taxes, banning guns, forcing abortion to only leave a few million people to serve the elite will we ever defeat evil methane and it’s evil twin carbon dioxide.

      – Any psycho leftist

  3. Ron C. says:

    In our freshmen dorm at university, some wag put a sign on the bathroom door, announcing “Natural Gas.”

  4. Morgan says:

    Fossil means in the ground. Some is, some isn’t. But it’s all natural.

  5. John B., M.D. says:

    I think Earth’s methane is primarily a fossil fuel. Earth formed closer to the sun than Titan, and lost most of it’s volatiles. In the outer solar system, the volatiles condensed as liquid and ice. You’ll find more water and ammonia out there, too.

    Is there a geologic process deep in the Earth that converts CO2 to CH4?

    • There is lots of C, H2O and heat in the earth – all you need to make CH4 and CO2

      • John B., M.D. says:

        You may be right. I agree we shouldn’t ASSUME methane is a fossil fuel.

        In the end, the alarmist activists hate methane anyway, no matter the source.

    • bubbagyro says:

      Yes, carbonate from tectonic plate subduction under another plate brings carbonate (limestone and sea shells) in contact with H2O, using Iron, Nickel and other metal catalysis, with concomitant heat and pressure produced by the subduction, to produce methane. This polymerizes to higher HCs under similar conditions. I am an organic chemist of 40+ years, and the Fischer-Tropsch process that Nazis used is a similar process using CO and hydrogen that I studied very early on in my education (Rutgers).

      Oddly enough, it was the Ukrainian scientists who recently developed the abiogenic hypothesis and confirmed it in the laboratory.

      My guess is that most of the oil and methane is abiogenic.

      Sorry, dinosaurs!

  6. emsnews says:

    The Washington Post has finally declared war on the rest of us by pretending this last winter didn’t really happen and only affected a tiny corner of the Northeast. For example, Montana’s winter was ‘normal’ and ditto, North and South Dakota and Maine, etc. was slightly colder than normal and NO record cold was set AT ALL anywhere.

    • Gail Combs says:

      Good grief, they really think we are mushrooms so they can feed us B… S…
      No wonder most people are abandoning bird cage liners.

    • Gail Combs says:

      The Washington Post, seems to have the comments turned off. A sure sign they KNOW they are going to get blasted with the truth.

    • Eric Simpson says:

      Well but Steven Goddard got a comment in at 11:25pst:

      That map is ridiculous. Here in Eastern Colorado, temperatures have been far below normal this year.

      I don’t understand how NCDC gets away with publishing these worthless maps.

      This map by HPRCC is believable:

    • geran says:

      The comments are a hoot! Goddard gets his reasonable comments in, but the loonies follow with all of the fanatical hysterics. One guy even seems to say airplanes will no longer be able to fly to Arizona. Hilarious!

  7. Send Al to the Pole says:

    I suspect some pools of hydrocarbons are from ancient shallow warm seas….but a lot of hydrocarbons come from below all sedimentary rock.

    • Jason Calley says:

      “but a lot of hydrocarbons come from below all sedimentary rock.”

      This must another case of “Climate Science” miracles. See, less dense warm surface water sinks down through cooler, higher density water and transports heat into the deep ocean. The same principle makes light hydrocarbons sink down through dense igneous rock and hide out at great depths underground.

      Gosh! Climate Science explains everything!


  8. mwhite says:

    “Now THAT’S wind power! Cows wear BACKPACKS to capture their ‘emissions’ and become miniature power stations”

  9. catweazle666 says:


  10. Eric Simpson says:

    I tend to suspect “fossil” fuels are abiotic like the Russians.

    By the way, as wattsupwiththat reports, on top of CO2 having virtually zero effect beyond 200 parts per million (it’s at 400ppm now), methane has zero effective greenhouse effect, because as Tom Sheahen states:

    Looking across the wavelength scale at the bottom, H2O absorbs strongly in the 3-micron region, and again between 5 and 7 microns; then it absorbs to some degree beyond about 12 microns. CO2 has absorption bands centered around 2.5 microns, 4.3 microns, and has a broad band out beyond 13 microns. Consequently, CO2 adds a small contribution to the greenhouse effect. Notice that sometimes CO2 bands overlap with H2O bands, and with vastly more H2O present, CO2 doesn’t matter in those bands.

    In the second graph in the figure, methane (CH4) has narrow absorption bands at 3.3 microns and 7.5 microns (the red lines). CH4 is 20 times more effective an absorber than CO2 – in those bands. However, CH4 is only 0.00017% (1.7 parts per million) of the atmosphere. Moreover, both of its bands occur at wavelengths where H2O is already absorbing substantially. Hence, any radiation that CH4 might absorb has already been absorbed by H2O. The ratio of the percentages of water to methane is such that the effects of CH4 are completely masked by H2O.

    • R Shearer says:

      Technically, natural gas is not petroleum but is certainly often associated with it. And there is certainly biologically produced natural gas, as we all know. What portion of methane on Earth that is not fossil is an interesting thing to ponder.

  11. Louis Hooffstetter says:

    Steve, thanks for highlighting the fact that most methane in the universe is NOT from living organisms, and for pointing out that our planet has everything necessary to produce methane and polymerize it into crude oil. I am a believer in the theory that most petroleum reserves are abiotic and produced by the polymerization of methane into larger hydrocarbon molecues. For non-believers: use synthetic motor oil next time you change your oil. That’s how its made.

  12. Gamecock says:

    Sorry, folks. Petroleum is levorotary. It’s chirality kills the abiogenic origin theory. Dead.

  13. Warren, Sydney Australia says:

    On a TV gardening program, last Saturday, a segment about using manure, this amazing claim was made –
    “I’m going to prepare the bed by digging in this manure into the top soil – that is, no deeper than the depth of a spade. This is really important because if you dig it down any deeper where there’s no air, anaerobic bacteria will break down the manure and they’ll convert the nitrogen into methane gas – which is toxic to plants – it’ll damage the roots and you lose the fertiliser as well.”

    Methane is made from Nitrogen?

    • Chip Bennett says:

      Methane…ammonia. Same thing, really, right?

    • Warren, Sydney Australia says:

      The transcript has been changed, it now says:
      I’m going to prepare the bed by digging in this manure into the top soil – that is, no deeper than the depth of a spade. This is really important because if you dig it down any deeper, the microorganisms that use nitrogen as a source of energy will release methane as a by-product of their metabolic process. This means the available nitrogen from the manure will be lost. *
      * EDITOR’S NOTE (9th May 2014): This transcript has been amended for clarity.

  14. tom0mason says:

    Is there any reason not to think that methane could be made by both organic and inorganic processes in nature? And the same with oil?

  15. slimething says:

    The abiotic process has been reproduced in the lab. Fossil fuel is a magical process nobody can explain except that it requires “time”.

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