Sheldon Station is a coal-fired generating plant located near Hallam, Neb. The plant was constructed between 1958 and 1963 as an experimental nuclear power plant for the Atomic Energy Commission. After the Commission (today known as the Nuclear Regulatory Commission) acquired the information it needed, the nuclear portion of the facility was decommissioned and the equipment and parts were sent to other nuclear plants or disposal sites. What couldn’t be moved was sealed and buried in large vaults beneath the earth’s surface at the plant. The burial site is regularly monitored by the Nebraska Department of Health.
Today, Sheldon Station’s two boilers can generate 225 megawatts of electricity. Power generated here is distributed to Nebraska’s residents through transmission lines leading to Lincoln, Hastings and Beatrice. Additionally, the Mark T. Moore substation, located near the plant, receives and sends power via lines to Lincoln, Grand Island and southeast Nebraska.
Sheldon Station’s current generation record was set in 2002 at 1,442,114 MWh.
Something BIG is coming to Sheldon Station
We plan to replace an existing coal-fired boiler at its Sheldon Station plant in Hallam, Neb. with one that uses clean-burning hydrogen fuel. The hydrogen will be produced by Monolith Materials as a co-product from its production of carbon black using natural gas as a feedstock. The collaborative undertaking is expected to create good paying jobs at the site and enable NPPD to continue to generate and deliver affordable, reliable and sustainable energy to Nebraskans.
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. 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, as well as aide in NPPD’s maintaining service as a low-cost energy producer for Nebraskans.
“We are embarking on a new chapter in the history of Sheldon Station and electric generation in Nebraska with the decision by Monolith Materials to locate in Nebraska,” said NPPD President and CEO Pat Pope. “Sheldon Station has always been a place of firsts – the first nuclear plant in Nebraska and now the first utility scale hydrogen powered generator. We are very proud of this facility and the people who work here.”
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.
“This is an example of the next-generation of American innovation and energy production that will also have a positive economic impact in Nebraska, and deliver clean and affordable energy to the state. This private business-led solution has the potential to support 600 new jobs and hundreds of millions of new capital investment in the state of Nebraska,” said Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts.
This initiative is not dependent on federal government grants or loan guarantees. Instead, innovative technology, affordable electricity and the country’s vast supply of low cost natural gas allows for the production of products at market competitive prices.
“This is the first large-scale utility operation to generate electricity through the use of hydrogen and something in which NPPD takes pride in having the opportunity to lead the way,” added Pope.
The companies expect to break-ground on their respective operations in 2016, with an expected completion date of 2019.