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Nebraska takes Next Step on pellet project

A power station in Nebraska is set to replace some of its coal with biopellets thanks to a new deal.

Biomass supplier Next Step Biofuels signed a letter of intent with Omaha Public Power District (OPPD) to test burn 2,200 tonnes of Next Step's corn stover PowerPellets.

PowerPellets will replace up to 5% of the coal burned in one of OPPD's North Omaha Station boilers during the one-month co-firing test. Pending the outcome of the August test, the companies said they expect to negotiate toward a multi-year PowerPellet contract by mid-October.

‘Wind and solar are important renewables, but PowerPellets contribute to the utilities' base load, meaning they can be counted on to generate clean electricity 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. In this way, PowerPellets help to balance utilities' renewable portfolios, and they can be implemented in existing coal-fired assets with minimal capital investment,’ Next Step president Kevin Dretzka.

‘With our PowerPellet solution, there are dozens of 500-plus megawatt coal-fired power plants in the Midwest that could be generating 5-10% renewable electricity in the very near term.’