A group of Hydrogen Ambassadors at the recent Hannover Fair in Germany have unveiled a method of producing hydrogen from a solid oxide fuel cell (SOFC). By running methane through the SOFC, not only is hydrogen / syngas produced but electricity is produced as well, making this fuel cell much more economical that other fuel cells in the same class.
This SOFC is unique, in that, it uses methane electrochemical partial oxidation (EPOx) unlike most fuel cells where the fuel is almost fully oxidized. The team has demonstrated stable EPOx operation without the typical fouled anodes due to carbon deposits.
Technology such as this could pave the way for hydrogen-on-demand generation, which would be useful when pulling your hydrogen car up to the fuel pump. Small-scale fuel cell / reformers such as this offer another alternative to the ideal of distributing pure hydrogen to the pumps all across the nation.