A method and apparatus for reacting a hydrocarbon containing feed stream by steam methane reforming reactions to form a synthesis gas. The hydrocarbon containing feed is reacted within a reactor having stages in which the final stage from which a synthesis gas is discharged incorporates expensive high temperature materials such as oxide dispersed strengthened metals while upstream stages operate at a lower temperature allowing the use of more conventional high temperature alloys. Each of the reactor stages incorporate reactor elements having one or more separation zones to separate oxygen from an oxygen containing feed to support combustion of a fuel within adjacent combustion zones, thereby to generate heat to support the endothermic steam methane reforming reactions.
U.S. GOVERNMENTAL INTEREST
 This invention was made with United States Government support under Cooperative Agreement number DE-FC26-01NT41096 awarded by the U.S. Department of Energy, National Energy Technology Laboratory. The United States Government has certain rights in this invention.