Abstract Photo-induced reforming of methanol, ethanol, glycerol and phenol at room temperature for hydrogen production was investigated with the use of ultra-small Pt nanoparticles (NPs) loaded on TiO2 nanotubes (NTs). The Pt NPs with diameters between 1.1 and 1.3 nm were deposited on TiO2 NTs by DC-magnetron sputtering (DC-MS) technique. The photocatalytic hydrogen rate achieved an optimum value for a loading of about 1 wt% of Pt. Apparent quantum yield for hydrogen generation was measured for methanol and ethanol water solutions reaching a maximum of 16% under irradiation with a wavelength of 313 nm in methanol/water solution (1/8 v/v). Pt NPs loaded on TiO2 NTs represented also a true water splitting catalyst under UV irradiation and pure distilled water. DC-MS method appears to be a technologically simple, ecologically benign and potentially low-cost process for production of an efficient photocatalyst loaded with ultra-small NPs with precise size control.