VERBIO starts biofuel production in the US state of Iowa
VERBIO has commissioned a new production plant at its site in Nevada (Iowa, USA). The plant produces biomethane from corn straw. It is the first large-scale industrial plant in the USA to rely on the technology developed by VERBIO. After a construction period of 2.5 years, Greg Faith, general manager at VERBIO Nevada LLC, is pleased with the milestone achieved: “Our biorefinery plant is now feeding biomethane into the gas grid of utility Alliant Energy for sale via pipeline to CNG fueling stations and trucking companies nationwide. This is a great day for us and for our partners in agriculture. We thank the City of Nevada, the Iowa Economic Development Authority, Des Moines Area Community College and Alliant Energy for helping us make our project a reality.”
Proven VERBIO technology for the U.S. market
VERBIO already purchased the decommissioned cellulosic ethanol plant from operator DuPont at the end of 2018. Claus Sauter, CEO of VERBIO AG, recalls, “It was our first major investment abroad and the step into the North American market. We expanded the plant to include biomethane production based on the model of our German sites and now we are providing green fuel from surplus corn straw for the American market. Our technology not only produces a climate-friendly fuel and a high-quality humus fertilizer, it also prevents agricultural emissions caused by the rotting of corn straw in the field. This turns driving into climate protection.”
The successful commissioning of the production plant in the Midwest of the USA is the starting point for further expansion plans of VERBIO in the USA. In the first phase, the plant will be ramped up to a capacity of 20 MW and will then be able to process up to 100,000 tons of straw into biomethane annually. By the end of 2022, the site will then be expanded into a VERBIO biorefinery modeled on the German plants with combined bioethanol-biomethane production.
Biomethane completes the biofuel portfolio in Iowa
Iowa has been a leader in renewable fuel production since the U.S. Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) legislation was passed in 2005 and amended in 2007. The VERBIO plant will now add biomethane (BioCNG) to the state’s biofuels portfolio and further expand the partnership between agriculture and the renewable energy industry. “VERBIO is a world-class company, and I am pleased they have chosen to build this new biorefinery facility in Iowa,” said Debi Durham, executive director of the Iowa Economic Development Authority and the Iowa Finance Authority. “This important renewable energy project exemplifies our economic development strategy in Iowa, which is about attracting innovative industries and creating attractive jobs that will raise living standards and create wealth in our state.”
Claus Sauter: Tremendous feedstock potential in agriculture-heavy Iowa.
“While the introduction of the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) has been a great success for the U.S. market, the share of advanced biofuels made from residual and waste materials is still far behind target. However, more than 80 percent of these residue-based biofuels come from landfill and sewage gas, but only a relatively small amount from agricultural residues and other cellulosic sources. Yet the vast agricultural lands in the Midwestern U.S. offer enormous feedstock potential in agricultural commodities and residues that can be used to decarbonize transportation. We want to leverage this potential with our technology,” says VERBIO CEO Claus Sauter, explaining the market potential and VERBIO’s strategy. In addition, there is the growing demand for climate-friendly logistics: “In America, truck transport on long-distance routes plays a more important role than in Germany. Biomethane in the form of BioCNG and BioLNG is also attractive to U.S. freight forwarders as a climate-friendly and long-range alternative,” the VERBIO CEO is convinced.
Senator Grassley welcomes VERBIO to Iowa.
“I am pleased to welcome VERBIO to Iowa. This is a significant investment in Nevada that will have an impact on other projects across the state. Iowa offers an excellent pool of skilled workers and is a great place to work and live,” said Senator Grassley (R‑IA). “Iowa is moving forward and committed to renewable fuels; this new facility is cutting-edge technology that will advance renewable energy across the country.”