Nebraska Public Power District, the state’s largest electric utility, plans to replace an existing coal-fired boiler at its Sheldon Station plant in Hallam with one that uses clean-burning hydrogen fuel — a move the utility expects to reduce CO2 emissions at the plant by 1.1 million tons per year.
Monolith Materials will produce the hydrogen as a co-product from its production of carbon black using natural gas as a feedstock. When burned, the hydrogen fuel produces zero greenhouse gas emissions.
The Sheldon Station boiler using hydrogen as a fuel will continue to be capable of generating 125 MW of electricity for NPPD’s customers. NPPD expects the boiler conversion to also reduce other types of air emissions.
The addition of hydrogen as a fuel source will further NPPD’s diverse generation portfolio and will bring its carbon-free energy sources closer to 50 percent, while reducing air emissions from Unit 2 at Sheldon to close to zero.
Monolith Materials says it will use a safe, patented process that doesn’t harm the environment to manufacture carbon black, a common material found in thousands of products including tires, rubber and plastics, printing inks and batteries. Monolith uses natural gas as feedstock in its process instead of oil or coal-tar as in the conventional process.
Monolith will build its new manufacturing facility adjacent to Sheldon Station so NPPD can easily access the hydrogen.
The companies expect to break-ground on their respective operations in 2016, with an expected completion date of 2019.
In 2013 the Department of Energy’s Office of Fossil Energy provided $15 million to support Ion’s carbon capture 1 MWe pilot project at Nebraska Public Power District’s Gerald Gentleman Station in Sutherland.