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Autothermal Reforming (ATR) - Syngas Generation

Autothermal Reforming (ATR) - Syngas Generation

Catalyst-based syngas generation through partial oxidation and subsequent reforming of gaseous feed

Autothermal Reforming (ATR) is a process for producing syngas, composed of hydrogen and carbon monoxide, by partially oxidizing a hydrocarbon feed with oxygen and steam and subsequent catalytic reforming. Depending on customers' needs (mainly syngas composition or plant capacity), Air Liquide Engineering & Construction can provide ATR as a stand-alone technology or in conjunction with Steam Methane Reforming, a technology known as Combined Reforming.

Partial oxidation and catalytic reforming

The feedstock for ATR can be natural gas, refinery offgas, pre-reformed gas, Fischer-Tropsch tail-gas, Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) or naphtha. After desulfurization (optional, depending on feedgas composition), the feed gas is pre-heated and optionally pre-reformed before entering the ATR reactor at 30 to 100 barg via the well referenced proprietary burner. In the first reaction step, the feedgas reacts with oxygen (partial combustion) and steam to produce syngas. This gas mixture enters then, inside the same reactor, a catalyst bed for further reforming in order to achieve a high yield reaching thermodynamic equilibrium. Finally, the syngas stream is cooled in a process gas boiler, generating high-pressure steam which can be exported to neighboring units or used for power generation.

The syngas can be used as feedstock for various synthesis processes, mainly methanol and Fischer-Tropsch synthesis. Alternatively, syngas components can be separated into pure hydrogen, carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide.


  • Well referenced technology for large plant sizes using natural gas
  • According to the best fit solution available as a standalone technology or as Combined Reforming (with Steam Methane Reformer)
  • Syngas adjustable to downstream usage offering a wide field of application
  • High-pressure steam can be generated

Key figures

  • Capacity: up to 1 million Nm3/h (dry)
  • Yield: 2.5 to 4.0 Nm3 syngas / Nm3 natural gas (including fuel for fired heater)
  • Oxygen consumption: 0.15 to 0.25 kilograms of oxygen / Nm3 syngas