Verbio Starts $230 Million Biorefinery Expansion in Indiana

The company is converting an old ethanol plant in South Bend.

Verbio has broken ground on a $230 million project in South Bend, Indiana.
Verbio has broken ground on a $230 million project in South Bend, Indiana.

Verbio today announced that it has broken ground on a $230 million project in South Bend, Indiana. The company, a subsidiary of German biofuel and chemical manufacturer Verbio SE, is converting a former ethanol plant into its second North American integrated biorefinery plant. 

The facility, which the company bought last year, will use a new production approach to make renewable natural gas (RNG) and bioethanol. The City of South Bend approved the company's expansion plans in April. Verbio hopes to make at least 85 million gallons of corn ethanol and 2.8 billion cubic feet (Bcf) of RNG annually.

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The event marks the beginning of the first phase of plant upgrades, scheduled over the next six months, including foundations for eight new anaerobic digester tanks. In the second phase, the company will install eight additional digesters and erect several new buildings. 

The RNG made in South Bend will be fed to the regional natural gas grid and support industrial and commercial applications. 

Commercial production is expected to begin in 2026.

Verbio uses corn sourced from local growers as feedstock for its ethanol production. RNG will be created from corn stillage, a co-product stream coming from the ethanol production process.

According to Verbio CEO Claus Sauter, the site is working with a closed-loop system that uses all raw materials sustainably and efficiently. Sauter says nearly 100% of all accumulated waste products are being refined in further steps into fertilizer products that are then sold back to growers. 

The company's first RNG plant in Nevada, Iowa, has produced RNG from corn stover since 2021. 

The South Bend project coincides with the expected commissioning of ethanol production at the Nevada plant in the coming weeks. Stillage from the ethanol production will be used to produce additional RNG, similar to the expansion of South Bend.

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