Catalytic steam gasification of safflower seed cake was carried out using a double-bed microreactor in a two-stage process in the presence of ceria oxide (CeO2) modified iron oxide (Fe2O3) catalysts with different CeO2-Fe2O3 ratios. The effects of both catalyst and the temperature of catalytic bed on the tar decomposition and the overall gaseous product yield were investigated comparatively. It was found that ceria modified iron oxide catalysts had higher reactivity than that of the individual Fe2O3 and CeO2 for the catalytic tar decomposition in safflower seed cake steam gasification. The CeO2-Fe2O3 catalyst with 50 wt.% of Fe2O3 exhibited the excellent performance for tar conversion at 700 degrees C. A comparison of tar decomposition from thermal run and catalytic run showed that in thermal run tar decomposition was progressed via steam reforming only. However, in the presence of catalyst, tar decomposition occurred via both steam reforming and water gas shift reaction. As a conclusion, ceria promoted iron catalysts were found to be active for both hydrogen production and tar decomposition in steam gasification of lignocellulosic biomass. (C) 2014 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.