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Steam Methane Reforming

Steam Methane Reforming - Hydrogen Production

Producing hydrogen through SMR


Know your Steam Reformer

May 29, 2018 in Hydrogen

Air Liquide Engineering & Construction provides Steam Methane Reforming (SMR) technology for hydrogen production on both a small and large scale. SMR is a cost-effective and energy efficient way of producing hydrogen. High levels of purity can be reached by employing in-house Pressure Swing Adsorption purification technology.

In the steam reforming process, a desulfurized hydrocarbon feedstock (natural gas, refinery offgas, liquefied petroleum gas or naphtha) is pre-heated, mixed with steam and optionally pre-reformed before passing a catalyst in a proprietary top-fired steam reformer to produce hydrogen, carbon monoxide (CO) and carbon dioxide (CO2). The CO is shifted with steam to additional hydrogen and CO2, and the hydrogen is then separated using Pressure Swing Adsorption.

Benefits for customers in hydrogen plant design

Our technology allows for flexible utilization of feedstocks, and designs may be optimized for lowest operating expenditure (OPEX), highest efficiency or lowest total lifecycle cost. Different degrees of modularization and standardization can be applied to meet the project requirements. For all plant designs excelling availability and reliability remains a prime focus. Here customers benefit from Air Liquide’s vast experience in operation with its own large fleet of steam reforming plants.

For small hydrogen capacities Air Liquide Engineering & Construction offers a highly modularized and standardized approach to SMR which features compact layout and comes in four different plant sizes with pre-defined equipment, piping arrangement and modules.


  • Variable degrees of customization versus standardization to meet project requirements
  • Focus on best in class plant availability and reliability benefiting from Air Liquide’s operational experience
  • Dedicated standard plant program for small hydrogen capacities with high degree of modularization allowing for execution time of less than 15 months Free On Board (FOB)

Key figures

  • Capacity: 10 000 to 200 000 normal cubic meters per hour (Nm³/h) Hydrogen (10 000 to 40 000 Nm³/h for small-scale standard plants)
  • Feed+fuel-steam: 12.3 to 13.2 Mega Joules per normal cubic meter (MJ/Nm³)
  • Steam production: 0.4 to 1.2 kilograms per normal cubic meters (kg/Nm³) Hydrogen

Steam Methane Reforming