Hydrogen by Steam Reforming


With the HC process, high purity hydrogen is produced by steam reforming of a hydrocarbon combined with a PSA purification step. The feed is mixed with a split stream of hydrogen and then preheated in the heat exchanger prior to passing a sulphur removal. The feed is then mixed with superheated steam. Whilst passing the catalyst in the reformer tubes, the mixture of water vapour and feed is converted into a syngas consisting of H2, CO, CO2, H2O and CH4.

The hot syngas passes the heat exchanger in which the main part of sensible heat is utilised, thus adjusting the temperature of the syngas for the subsequent CO-shift. In the cooler following the CO-shift, the syngas is cooled to ambient temperatures, whilst simultaneously water vapour is condensed and subsequently separated. The syngas now passes the molecular sieve PSA purification unit where the H2 is isolated to the specified purity. The reformer is fired by a high-velocity burner which burns fuel and tail gas. Tailgas produced in the PSA purification unit is buffered in the tail gas buffer tank. The hot flue gases of the reformer pass the waste heat boiler prior to being used to superheat feed/steam mixture and to preheat the feed in the heat exchangers.

See our articles related to H2 Generation:


Typical feed:
natural gas, LPG, naphtha

Capacity range: 
200 – 6,500 Nm³/h single reformer
6,500 – 13,000 Nm³/h twin reformer

H2 purity: 
typically 99.999% by vol.
(optional 99.9999% by vol.)

H2 supply pressure: 
typically 15 bar (g)

automatic, PLC controlled

For the production of 1,000 Nm³/h H2 from natural gas the following

Utilities are required:

  • 380-420 Nm³/h natural gas
  • 900 kg/h boiler feed water
  • 28 kW electric power
  • 38 m³/h cooling water *

* can be substituted by air cooling

export steam, if required