Hydrogen production by steam reforming of methane or methanol in a catalytic fixed bed membrane reactor was investigated. Hydrogen separation by a permselective inorganic membrane, e.g., Pd, shifted the equilibrium of the steam reforming reaction. The endothermicity of the steam reforming was compensated by the combustion of methane or methanol. Two alternative designs for the thermal coupling of endothermic steam reforming and exothermic oxidation were compared. Since thermal fronts are formed, axial dispersion cannot be ignored. The thermally balanced reactor might be operated without heating. The reactor was designed to provide high purity hydrogen feed for fuel cells. Comparison with other approaches, like millisecond combustion, were discussed. This is an abstract of a paper presented at the AIChE Annual Meeting and Fall Showcase (Cincinnati, OH 1/04/2005).