This study demonstrates an economic reforming process that combines arc plasma with catalyst in series for hydrogen production. Hydrogen was generated by means of partial oxidation of methane. Granular Ni catalysts were packed in the post plasma zone. No extra-energy was needed to sustain the temperature of catalyst bed; the elevated temperature was maintained both by the hot gases from plasma region and by the heat of reforming reaction itself. A promising energy efficiency of 1.21 MJ/kg-H2, being together with high hydrogen yield (89.9%) and high methane conversion (90.2%), was experimentally achieved. The energy efficiency is estimated to be 20% higher compared with a gas turbine system with methane as the fuel. In addition, thermodynamic analysis for partial oxidation of methane was conducted. Experimental data agreed well with the thermodynamic results, indicating that high thermal efficiency can be achieved with the plasma-assisted catalysis process.