Verbio acquires South Bend Ethanol
This will be Verbio's second US production facility, following the commissioning of its plant in Nevada, Iowa.
The company said it intends to develop the plant into a modern biorefinery, at an estimated total investment of $230 million (€209.6m).
“We are excited about the opportunity to integrate the production of ethanol with renewable natural gas (RNG) in the state of Indiana,” said Stefan Schreiber, executive board member for North America of Verbio AG, the German-based parent company.
“We believe this transaction provides an excellent path for Verbio to further strengthen its North America business and growth strategy. The site offers a competitive location as well as existing infrastructure and meets our requirements for access to the natural gas grid, electricity, feedstock sources and water supply.”
Advanced plant upgrade over the next three years
Integration of the ethanol production with the RNG production process, unique to the Verbio brand and developed successfully at the company`s facilities in Europe over the past decade, will result in higher efficiencies and improved sustainability, according to Verbio.
The site will be developed over the next three years, incorporating Verbio’s advanced engineering and operating technology practices.
Following commissioning, the production capacity of the plant will be at 85 million gallons of corn ethanol and 2.8 billion cubic feet (Bcf) of RNG per year.
Verbio will retain the assets of the existing ethanol plant and seek to improve yields and reduce energy consumption over the next few months.
The investment will incorporate additional equipment and processes necessary to produce value-added by-products, such as liquid fertilisers.
Furthermore, the Inflation Reduction Actof 2022, aiming to boost investments in climate protection and clean energy in the United States, offers provisions that will benefit the Verbio project.
Verbio is working on plans to start construction in the coming months, with commercial production of RNG for use in process industries and other end-use markets expected to begin in 2026.
The plant`s primary feedstock, approximately 28 million bushels of corn annually used for ethanol production, will continue to be procured locally and the company looks forward to working with the growers in the region.
Driving decarbonization in industry
The Verbio biorefinery concept does not only support continued opportunities for local growers, it also offers advanced renewable fuel projects.
With the construction of anaerobic digestion (AD) tanks designed to produce RNG, Verbio will utilise the stillage resulting from ethanol production as feedstock rather than producing dried distillers’ grains with solubles (DDGS), as 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.
Following processing, liquid fertilisers and humus will be returned to the fields as soil amendments, completing the sustainability cycle.
“We see a continued strong demand for renewable energy solutions, especially in North American industrial process industries,” stated Claus Sauter, founder and CEO of the parent company VERBIO AG.
“This opens up promising economic perspectives for us and supports VERBIO's growth and internationalisation strategy. Our renewable energy operations worldwide are built on our company's 20 years-plus commitment to sustainability and technological innovation. We look forward to further expanding our business within North America as well as internationally in the coming years,” Sauter concluded.