Ethanol Blog

Verbio to Launch RNG Construction at Recently Acquired Indiana Ethanol Plant

Todd Neeley
By  Todd Neeley , DTN Environmental Editor
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Verbio is starting construction of a renewable natural gas plant alongside a corn-ethanol plant in South Bend, Indiana. (Photo courtesy Verbio)

LINCOLN, Neb. (DTN) -- Verbio this week launched construction on a conversion of an ethanol plant in South Bend, Indiana, into what also will be a renewable natural gas production plant.

The company, a subsidiary of biofuels and bioenergy producer Verbio SE, received approval for its expansion proposal from the city of South Bend officials in April 2024.

Following the application of the Verbio technology and commissioning, Verbio plans to launch production capacity of at least 85 million gallons of corn ethanol and 2.8 billion cubic feet of RNG annually.

The RNG produced at Verbio South Bend will be transported to the regional natural gas grid.

Verbio acquired the plant in May 2023 from Mercuria Investments and announced an estimated total investment plan of $230 million. Commercial production of RNG is expected to begin in 2026.

"We are excited about Verbio's expansion plans and their impact on our regional economy," South Bend Mayor James Mueller said in a news release.

"As an industry leader in renewable natural gas production, Verbio will bring new life to the ethanol plant with cutting-edge green technology that will add to South Bend's clean energy portfolio."

Verbio CEO Claus Sauter said in a statement the plant will create "meaningful employment opportunities for the citizens of South Bend and the surrounding area."

In the first phase of plant upgrades after Verbio bought the plant from South Bend Ethanol, LLC in 2023, Verbio said it expects to build foundations for eight new anaerobic digester tanks.

Major construction planned for the second phase includes the building of eight digesters, related piping and wiring, the construction of several new buildings and the addition of miscellaneous process equipment.

It will be Verbio's second ethanol facility following the commissioning of its first plant bought in Nevada, Iowa. The company also produces renewable natural gas at the Iowa plant.

Verbio said last year the plant's primary feedstock of about 28 million bushels of corn annually used to produce ethanol, would continue to be procured locally.

The construction of anaerobic digestion tanks designed to produce RNG, will allow the company to use the stillage resulting from ethanol production as feedstock rather than producing dried distillers' grains with solubles as it is typical for other ethanol plants.

Biogas produced in the AD tanks will be upgraded to pipeline quality RNG for injection into the gas distribution system serving the site, Verbio said.

Following processing, liquid fertilizers and humus will be returned to the fields as soil amendments, completing the sustainability cycle, the company said.

Globally, Verbio produces about 3.5 billion cubic feet of RNG, 198 million gallons of biodiesel and 100 million gallons of ethanol annually.

In 2021, Verbio launched operations in Nevada, Iowa, at its first U.S.-based plant that is about to start ethanol production of about 60 million gallons annually later this year in addition to its large-scale RNG operations.

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