The production of hydrogen was investigated in a fixed bed tubular reactor via steam reforming of methanol using CuO/ZnO/Al2O3 catalysts prepared by wet impregnation method and characterized by measuring surface area, pore volume, X-ray diffraction pattern and scanning electron microscopy photographs. The SRM was carried out at atmospheric pressure, temperature 493–573 K, steam to methanol molar ratio 1–1.8 and W/F 3 to 15. Effects of reaction temperature, contact-time, steam to methanol molar ratio and zinc content of catalyst on methanol conversion, selectivity and product yields were evaluated. The addition of zinc enhances the methanol conversion and hydrogen production. The excess steam promotes the methanol conversion and suppresses the carbon monoxide formation. Different strategies have been mentioned to minimize the carbon monoxide formation for the steam reforming of methanol to produce fuel cell grade hydrogen. Optimum operating conditions with appropriate composition of catalyst has been found to produce more selective hydrogen with minimum carbon monoxide. The reaction mechanism has been proposed based on the product distribution. The kinetic model available in literature fitted well with the experimental results.

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