VERBIO has commenced production at its new plant in Nevada, Iowa. The plant will generate biomethane from corn stover (maize straw), and is the first large-scale commercial plant in the US to use the technology developed by VERBIO.
VERBIO acquired the mothballed cellulosic ethanol plant from DuPont, the previous operator, at the end of 2018.
VERBIO’s technology produces RNG from pure cellulosic material, such as corn stover or wheat straw. The feedstock undergoes the process of anaerobic digestion in large tanks over the course of 20-60 days. During this process, raw biogas is produced comprising about 55% methane and 45% carbon dioxide.
Carbon dioxide and other impurities are removed through a biogas treatment process, leaving nearly pure biomethane gas which is chemically equivalent to fossil natural gas. This biomethane is then suitable for injection into the natural gas transmission or distribution grid.
It was our first major foreign investment and our entry into the North American market. We have expanded the plant to include biomethane production based on the model we use at our German locations, and now we are providing green fuels for the American market manufactured from excess maize straw. Our technology does not only create a climate-friendly fuel and a high-value fertilizer, it also prevents the release of additional emissions from agricultural production that would have resulted from the maize straw being left to rot in the fields. This turns driving vehicles into a form of climate protection.—Claus Sauter, CEO of VERBIO AG
The successful launch of the production plant in the American Midwest is the starting point for VERBIO’s further expansion plans in the US. In the initial phase the plant will be ramped up to a capacity of 20 MW, and thereafter it will be able to process 100,000 tonnes of straw annually, converting it into biomethane. By the end of 2022 the plant will have been expanded based on the model used in VERBIO’s German plants to offer combined bioethanol-biomethane production.