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By controlling the thermal radiation spectrum using surface grating technologies, we promote the methane steam reforming to produce hydrogen. We fabricated a two-dimensional surface grating to tune its thermal emittance peak to the vibrational absorption bands of methane and water. We demonstrated that hydrogen production strongly depends on the spectral intensity within the resonant wavelength range, and that the hydrogen production rate is four times greater than that obtained when the spectrally controlled thermal radiation is not tuned to vibrational resonances. The optical excitation of the vibrational energy levels of gas molecules is found to effectively promote hydrogen production.