Methanol as a hydrogen carrier

  • Bring the hydrogen directly to your ma-chine - with our reforming technology
  • Increase the efficiency of your application - with patented IMM catalysts and reactor concepts
  • Bring your system on the road - thanks to our innovative vibration-resistant catalyst coating processes
  • Minimize the space requirements of your application - we hold the record for hydro-gen production per liter of reactor since 2012.[1]

[1] Badakhsh, A. et al. (2021) Chemical Engineering Journal, 426, 130802  

Most frequently asked questions and answers:

The reforming of methanol is already common practice in the industry - what makes your system different compared to conventional reformer reactors?

The focus of conventional reactors is on large-scale plants with long, continuous production cycles, few load changes and maximum cost optimization. Our focus is on optimal performance in the smallest possible size, system efficiency by recycling all material flows and flexibility in operation.


How do you achieve high power densities in your reformers?

The internal structure of our reactors is optimized down to the last detail. The basic structure of an IMM reactor is that of a plate heat exchanger, with the special feature that each plate is coated on both sides with a specialized catalyst: On one side the methanol reforming takes place, on the other side the heat recovery by catalytic combustion of the resulting fuel cell exhaust gas. The two reactions run in parallel, separated only by a metal layer a few tenths of a millimeter thick. This allows an extremely high heat transfer in a very small space - the driving force behind the chemical reaction.


The catalyst is the heart of every reformer - in comparison with a conventional cata-lyst, how does the IMM catalyst perform?

Fixed-bed catalysts, which are used in conventional reformers are inexpensive and available on a large scale - however they can only be used to a limited extent for small systems. The catalysts are not very active, thus requiring large quantities. They also grind up under continuous vibrations, lose a lot of performance during longer periods of standstill, have a comparatively high CO selectivity and tend to self-ignite when contact with air occurs. These properties make them unusable for mobile applications - the patented IMM catalyst for methanol reforming has none of the problems mentioned.

Superior catalysts

The catalysts developed at the Fraunhofer IMM solve several problems associated with the use of conventional reformer catalysts on a small scale:

Conventional Cu/ZnO catalysts IMM PtIn2O3 Catalysts
Fixed bed
Abrasion due to vibration   Stable in the automotive sector, similar to catalyst coatings 
Low activity  Higher activity enables low catalyst masses
High CO concentration in the reformate, especially at partial load
Low CO concentration, almost independent of load
Self-igniting in contact with atmospheric oxygen
Air contact easily possible
Reduced performance after prolonged system standstill, activation may be necessary
No loss of performance, immediately ready for (re)use

Talk to our expert responsible for methanol as a hydrogen carrier.

Contact Press / Media

Dr. rer. nat. Jonas Schramm

Fraunhofer-Institut für Mikrotechnik und Mikrosysteme IMM
Carl-Zeiss-Str. 18-20
55129 Mainz

Phone +49 6131 990-370

Fax +49 6131 990-205