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Hydrogen on Demand (high-pressure liquid reforming reactor)

Hydrogen on Demand
The high-pressure liquid reformer was designed to efficiently produce PEM (proton exchange membrane) fuel cell-quality hydrogen at pressures up to 12,000 psig. High-pressure hydrogen is required in order for hydrogen fuel cell vehicles to achieve a range similar to current gasoline vehicles. The process has unique attributes that allow continuous high-pressure hydrogen production without the use of energy-intensive gas compression equipment. Instead of compressing hydrogen after its production, the system pressurizes liquid feedstock and water at the front end of the process with a positive displacement pump. There is an energy savings by pumping reactants instead of compressing products.

This approach also reduces fuel delivery costs. More hydrogen is delivered on a per-volume basis when transporting hydrogen-rich liquids than is delivered when transporting compressed or liquefied hydrogen in its pure form. This translates to fewer delivery trucks required each week at a given fueling station.

Operating Conditions

  • Nominal feed rate: 0–3.5 gallons per hour of liquid feedstock
  • Nominal temperature: 0°–1200°F (0°–650°C)
  • Pressure: 0–12,000 psig


  • 0.75-in. i.d.
  • 12 ft tall


Methanol, ethanol, glycerol, and SPK (synthetic paraffinic kerosene) have been demonstrated.


This system can be used as a test bed for the investigation of novel catalytic reactions, carbon dioxide removal technologies, gas purification technologies, supercritical water reactions, and/or the investigation of opportunity feedstocks with respect to their use as starting material for the production of high-value products. It can be reconfigured to fit individual client needs. Steel walls, remote operator control, gas leak detection, and other safety protocols are already in place for safely developing new technologies.


Hydrogen On Demand
The high-pressure liquid reformer comprises five primary unit operations:

  1. 1. Catalytic reactor
  2. 2. High-pressure water condensate vessel
  3. 3. Continuous high-pressure carbon dioxide removal vessel
  4. 4. Final gas separation unit
  5. 5. Commercial hydrogen dispenser

Data Collection

A data acquisition/control system is used to monitor and record all critical temperatures, pressures, and flow rates and to remotely control the system. Online laser gas analyzers and continuous emission monitors are used to collect gas composition data. Gas samples may also be taken for further laboratory analysis.


  • Built in 2010