Nebraska Public Power District (NPPD) plans to replace an existing coal-fired boiler at its Sheldon Station plant in Hallam, Nebraska, with a boiler that uses clean-burning hydrogen fuel. To obtain this new hydrogen fuel source in Nebraska, NPPD is working with Monolith Materials – a manufacturing company that produces hydrogen as a byproduct in its production of cleanly made carbon black using natural gas as a feedstock. When burned, the hydrogen fuel produces zero greenhouse gas emissions. Through this agreement, NPPD is expected to reduce CO2 emissions at Sheldon Station by 1.1 million tons per year. The Sheldon Station boiler using hydrogen as a fuel will continue to be capable of generating 125 megawatts of electricity for NPPD’s customers. The boiler conversion is also expected to result in a dramatic reduction in other types of air emissions.
Monolith Materials will use a safe, patented and environmentally friendly process to manufacture carbon black, a common material found in thousands of products Americans use every day 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. A co–product of its manufacturing process is plentiful hydrogen, which NPPD intends to use to generate electric energy.
Monolith will build its new manufacturing facility adjacent to Sheldon Station so NPPD can easily access the hydrogen. Monolith will power its new manufacturing facility with electricity from Norris Public Power District, headquartered in Beatrice, Nebraska.
This is the first large–scale utility operation to generate electricity through the use of hydrogen. The companies expect to break ground on their respective operations in 2016, with an expected completion date of 2019.