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Let's power up blue: Electrifying low-carbon hydrogen production

To achieve our net zero ambitions, the shipping and aviation industries will most likely have to rely on hydrogen and its derivatives for decarbonization. Right now, more than 99% of global hydrogen production is derived from fossil fuels, particularly natural gas which accounts for 75%1.

The most widespread route for hydrogen production which uses natural gas as feedstock is steam methane reforming (SMR), and it is expected to remain the dominant process because of it favorable economics and existing infrastructure. 

In 2014, we at TOPSOE™ set out to leverage our existing knowledge and expertise in SMR technology to an emission-free alternative. Recognizing that the ley to unlocking the potential for low-carbon hydrogen production lies in the electrified reforming technology used to produce the syngas, we devised a solution that seamlessly integrates electricity with reactor processes. 

eSMR Reactor


eREACT is the electrified counterpart to the world's most common hydrogen production method: steam methane reforming (SMR). The main difference between eREACT and SMR lies in the heat generation process. SMR relies on the combustion of natural gas for heat generation, which results in CO2 emissions. eREACT, on the other hand, relies on (renewable) electricity to drive the same reaction, resulting in ultra-low carbon intensity, and a remarkable reduction of over 99%in co2 emissions compared to SMR.

With eREACT, you can support the energy transition with your existing hydrocarbon infrastructure (natural gas, liquefied petroleum gas (LPG), or naphtha), and future-proof your low-carbon production. 


Why choose eREACT? 

  • CO2 emissions reduction by >99% compared to SMR
  • Ultra-low carbon intensity of0-0.2 kg CO2/kg H2
  • Eliminates all flue gas from the hydrogen-production process
  • Minimizes plant footprint with a solution significantly smaller than a traditional SMR furnace
  • Reduces natural gas consumption with 30-40% compared to traditional SMR for hydrogen production
  • Lower engineering and operating cost through simpler plant design
  • Safe and low-cost continuous operation
  • Easy on-site construction and transportation
  • Fits with decentralized chemicals production 
  • Faster startup time
  • Long-term ease of maintenance

Annotation 2024-06-13 105801

Article: eREACT in action!

TOPSOE™, a global leader in carbon emission reduction technologies, and Aramco, a global integrated energy chemicals company, have entered into a collaboration to demonstrate the eREACTTM technology for the production of low-carbon hydrogen (also commonly referred to as blue hydrogen).

Read full article: TOPSOE™ and Aramco to demonstrate groundbreaking low-carbon hydrogen production technology

A sneak-peek on the eREACT process

Let's look at some of the process details of eREACT - from hydrocarbon feedstock to syngas. 

It all starts with desulphurization of the hydrocarbon feedstock, such as natural gas, LPG, or naphtha, before it's combined with steam. The mixed gas is efficiently preheated using electrical heating. It then enters the prereformer for a partial reforming of the gas. 

This prereformed gas is then fed to the electrical reactor in which the methane is converted to synthesis gas by the steam reforming reaction. The compact reactor of eREACT features a catalyst bed designed and manufactured by TOPSOE™ and requires an electricity input of approximately 1 kWh/Nm3 of hydrogen. 

Finally the gas is cooled down in a waste heat boiler. This cooling process generates steam, which is used for the reforming process. 

The final syngas is treated based on its intended application. For hydrogen production, the syngas is directed to a shift reactor, where it's purified through a hydrogen PSA (Pressure swing adsorption) unit, and a CO2 capture unit. This yields high-purity hydrogen. 

A proven solution ready for deployment

For more than 10 years, we have researched and developed ways to transfer existing knowledge on SMR technology to an emission-free electrified counterpart. Having gone through in-house scale-up, eREACT is now a proven technology ready to be deployed, and its feasibility and scalability have been demonstrated through our pilot project. 

In 2022, we installed a pilot plant in Aarhus University's research facility in Denmark (Foulum). since it commissioning in October 2022, the plant has successfully demonstrated operational experience with the industrial-scale electrified steam methane reforming technology (eREACT). The plant has received funding from EUDP - The Danish Energy Technology Development and Demonstration Programme. 

Get a glimpse of our eREACT plant in this video

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Adam Samir Kadhim
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