Building and Construction

Nuclear to Coal to Hydrogen: Sheldon Station Blazes a Trail

11 July 2017

You’d have to be pretty lost on a road trip through the southeastern part of the Cornhusker state to run across Nebraska Public Power District’s (NPPD’s) Sheldon power plant.

And that would be too bad, because Sheldon may deserve at least a mention in the annals of industrial history. If so, then it’s on track to add to that citation.

Sheldon Station is on track to become the largest hydrogen-fueled power plant in the U.S.

The plant was first built between 1958 and 1963 as an experimental nuclear power plant for the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission. That equipment is long gone. In its place is a two-unit coal-fired power plant that for a time tried (without much luck) to use old tires as fuel. It burned Eastern U.S. coal and today takes delivery of trainloads of low-sulfur coal from Wyoming’s Powder River Basin.

That’s set to change as NPPD engineers advance plans to convert Sheldon’s 125 megawatt (MW) Unit 2 from coal to hydrogen. Doing so would make Sheldon the largest hydrogen-fueled electric power station in the United States.

“Contracts are in place to move the project forward,” says John Swanson, generation strategy manager for NPPD. His job is to “look under rocks” for new opportunities. It was NPPD’s work on carbon storage and sequestration methods that led to introductions being made about a possible source of hydrogen for the power plant. Read more.

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