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How is carbon monoxide formed ?

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Burning and Steam Reformation . Carbon monoxide, CO is formed when combustion of carbon based materials take placed and there is not enough oxygen to create carbon dioxide. It is a product of imperfect combustion of hydrocarbon fuels (such as oil, gasoline, natural gas, and coal) and is almost always formed to some degree when something is burned because burning anything never results in perfect combustion.. On an industrial scale however, carbon monoxide is formed in a completely different reaction, known as steam reformation. In this process methane gas (also known as natural gas) is combined with steam (gas phase water) at high temperature over a catalyst to form hydrogen gas and carbon monoxide:. CH 4 + H 2 O --> 3H 2 + CO. This is how almost all hydrogen gas is generated in the world today. The carbon monoxide is not very useful by itself, and can be further reacted with steam to give more hydrogen gas, in the water gas shift reaction:. CO + H 2 O --> CO 2 + H 2 . Carbon monoxide, is one atom of carbon bonded to one atom of oxygen.

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