Researchers have converted methane into valuable chemicals. The reaction occurs under ambient conditions in a novel two-phase system. Chlorine radicals are generated by light irradiation in water solvent, while methane is dissolved in perfluorohexane. Methyl radicals then react with oxygen, producing industrially useful methanol and formic acid. This is the first aerobic oxidation of methane without using high temperature/pressure, and the concept could allow industry-scale reactions with reduced environmental impact.