Steam reforming is a method for producing hydrogen, carbon monoxide, or other useful products from hydrocarbon fuels such as reforming the industrial world pdf gas. This is achieved in a processing device called a reformer which reacts steam at high temperature with the fossil fuel.
The steam methane reformer is widely used in industry to make hydrogen. There is also interest in the development of much smaller units based on similar technology to produce hydrogen as a feedstock for fuel cells.
Small-scale steam reforming units to supply fuel cells are currently the subject of research and development, typically involving the reforming of methanol, but other fuels are also being considered such as propane, gasoline, autogas, diesel fuel, and ethanol. 500 billion m3 in 1998. Hydrogen is used in the industrial synthesis of ammonia and other chemicals. Catalysts with high surface area to volume ratio are preferred because of diffusion limitations due to high operating temperature.
Examples of catalyst shapes used are spoked wheels, gear wheels, and rings with holes. Additionally, these shapes have a low pressure drop which is advantageous for this application. Additional hydrogen can be recovered by a lower-temperature gas-shift reaction with the carbon monoxide produced, in the presence of a copper or iron catalyst. The United States produces nine million tons of hydrogen per year, mostly with steam reforming of natural gas.
The worldwide ammonia production, using hydrogen derived from steam reforming, was 144 million metric tonnes in 2014. This steam reforming process is quite different from and not to be confused with catalytic reforming of naphtha, an oil refinery process that also produces significant amounts of hydrogen along with high octane gasoline. Flared gas and vented VOCs are known problems in the offshore industry and in the on-shore oil and gas industry, since both emit unnecessary greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. Reforming for combustion engines utilizes steam reforming technology for converting waste gases into a source of energy.