Hydrogen Generation for a Clean Energy Future

Natural Gas Reforming

e1 has the technology and expertise to design and develop customized natural gas (NG & biogas) reforming products to produce fuel cell grade high-purity hydrogen.  NG based hydrogen generators are an excellent choice for larger applications (> 500 kg/d) where NG is available at the site.  Typically, NG hydrogen generators are favored when continuous hydrogen generation is required and the favorable operational expense (in comparison to methanol hydrogen generators) overcomes the larger capital expense penalty.  If your hydrogen project favors natural gas as the choice of feedstock, request more information on how e1 can apply its technology to a customized NG reforming solution for your application.

Key Advantages:

  1. Lowest operating expense: Converts a hydrogen dense feedstock blend of natural gas and DI water into fuel cell grade high-purity hydrogen at the lowest operating cost if piped natural gas is available at the target site location. 
  2. State of the art controls: Fully-automated Woodward Flex 500 control modules provides state of the art operation and safety.  Expandable to include the complete refueling system and remote communication capability. 
  3. Limited power requirements: Reforming NG requires minimal electrical power compared to an electrolyzer solution allowing for use in urban environments with reduced available electrical infrastructure. 
  4. Allows for expanded hydrogen deployments:  On-site hydrogen generation overcomes local regulations and restrictions limiting bulk hydrogen deliveries, especially in desirable urban areas, and provides inexpensive hydrogen for locations far removed from industrial hydrogen production sources, expanding hydrogen availability for FCEV’s.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is the cost of NG steam reformers vs methanol steam reformers?

    The CapEx for an NG steam reformer is going to be two to three times as much as a methanol steam reformer.  e1 has found that the economics of NG hydrogen generators do not support applications that are less than 100 kW of continuous fuel cell power. 

  • Why is NG steam reforming more expensive?

    The reactor and the balance of plant and support equipment are much more expensive than methanol steam reforming.  Methane steam reforming occurs at 800° C to 1,000° C. which requires very expensive exotic nickel-based metals that can tolerate the high heat and pressure. Methanol steam reforming occurs at 400° C which allows e1 to use common 304 SS to build the reactor.   Lower temperature results in a less complicated system, lower cost materials, less insulation, and generally few parts.

    In addition, methanol reforming only requires one metering system for liquid methanol and water mixture.  Methane reforming requires two separate metering systems for methane and water.

  • Why would someone want a NG steam reformer vs a methanol steam reformer?

    NG reforming may be more economically attractive for applications that require a larger amount of hydrogen produced per day, typically more than 500 kg/d of generated hydrogen.  However, it will depend on the availability and cost of NG vs. methanol, and the ability to absorb the higher initial capital cost of NG steam reforming solutions.

  • Does e1 produce an NG fueled hydrogen generator supporting smaller < 10 kW fuel cell power applications?

    Currently, we have the S-Series hydrogen generator based on methanol/water feedstock to support low power <10 kW fuel cell solutions.   The L-Series can provide hydrogen to support larger fuel cell applications. 

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