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Comment Sustainability

Verbio inaugurates cellulosic RNG plant in Iowa

By Mary Page Bailey |

Verbio Vereinigte BioEnergie AG (Leipzig, Germany) has announced the inauguration of its new renewable natural gas (RNG) production facility in Nevada, Iowa. The plant will achieve full-scale production in summer 2022.


Verbio CEO Claus Sauter: “The plant in Nevada (Iowa) is our first plant in the USA. Until summer 2022, we will achieve full-scale production. Then we will process up to 100,000 tons of corn stover into renewable natural gas (RNG) every year and make it available for the market as a climate-friendly, renewable biofuel. By 2023, we will expand the Verbio biorefinery based on the model of the German plants to an integrated RNG and bioethanol production. Our advanced and approved technology sets new standards in the US biofuels market. Nevada is just the beginning. We want to install another five to ten biorefineries in North America over the next five years.”



The plant in the state of Iowa is Verbio ‘s first major foreign investment. “In 2018 we bought the facility from DuPont. This was followed by the conversion of the cellulosic ethanol plant and the installation of a straw biomethane production based on the German model. The plant injected the first RNG to the grid at the end of 2021, and since then we have been continuously increasing production. So far, we have invested almost USD 50 million in the site. With further expansion, we will increase the investment to at least USD 115 million. Corn stover is turned into RNG here. And so far, this is unique technology and dimension in the USA,” Sauter says.


As in the other four large-scale biomethane production plants worldwide, Verbio uses agricultural residues for bioenergy production in Iowa. “We don’t use high-quality grain but only wasted corn stover. Farmers benefit from our new technology: We collect the straw from the field, which would otherwise simply rot there. This reduces CO2 and methane emissions. At the end of our production chain, straw humus is produced, which is a high-quality bio-fertilizer. Our RNG contributes to the decarbonization of transport and agriculture,” explains the biofuels expert.




The RNG is fed into the natural gas grid of the energy supplier Alliant Energy who helps VERBIO to deliver it via pipeline to CNG filling stations and haulage companies across the country. RNG can also replace fossil natural gas in the industry. “We believe in our technology and the benefits of RNG made from residues. We’ve always done that, even if the regulatory framework in Germany hasn’t always been favourable. That’s why we’ve been promoting the internationalization of VERBIO for years – especially in growth regions where the regulatory environment for biofuels and renewable energies is more long-term based and reliable,” Claus Sauter says. “In North America, the potential of domestic biofuels from regional raw materials for climate protection AND security of supply was recognized much earlier than in Germany and Europe,” adds Sauter.

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