In simple terms, the fuel is reacted with steam to release hydrogen from both. The process was invented 10 years ago but not made public until 1999. Now there's a rush to see if the method can be commercially viable. Such a step would speed up the "hydrogen economy."
Since storing and transporting hydrogen is a major concern, the beauty of this process is that the fuel can be shipped to filling stations where it's reformed into hydrogen on site. Early demonstration models use methane or pulverised coal as a fuel. But researchers say the process can apply to biomass fuels. Experiments show up to 44 percent of available hydrogen has been extracted from sunflower cooking oil.
[Source: The Engineer Online]