The facility will incorporate both the production of renewable natural gas (RNG) and bioethanol.

Images courtesy of VERBIO North America Holdings Corporation

New development for Indiana bioenergy market: Verbio starts construction to convert its South Bend ethanol plant into the second integrated biorefinery plant in North America. Members of Verbio management and public officials gathered this morning in South Bend to hold a groundbreaking ceremony for this next milestone.

The facility will incorporate both the production of renewable natural gas (RNG) and bioethanol using an innovative production approach. The company, a subsidiary of Europe`s leading biofuels and bioenergy producer Verbio SE, had received approval for its expansion proposal from the City of South Bend in April. Following the application of the Verbio technology and commissioning, Verbio targets a production capacity of at least 85 million gallons of corn ethanol and 2.8 billion cubic feet (Bcf) of RNG annually.

South Bend Mayor James Mueller said, "We are excited about Verbio's expansion plans and their impact on our regional economy. As an industry leader in renewable natural gas production, Verbio will bring new life to the ethanol plant with cutting-edge green technology that will add to South Bend's clean energy portfolio."

In collaboration with the city, Verbio CEO Claus Sauter said, "We look forward to creating meaningful employment opportunities for the citizens of South Bend and the surrounding area as the company expands its renewable energy footprint in the Midwest."

First phase of plant upgrade after purchase in 2023
In this first phase of upgrading the South Bend plant over the next 6 months, Verbio will build the foundations for 8 new anaerobic digester (AD) tanks. Major construction planned for the second phase includes the erection of an additional 8 digesters, related piping and wiring, the construction of several new buildings and the addition of miscellaneous process equipment.

The RNG produced at Verbio South Bend will be fed to the regional natural gas grid and support the needs of industrial and commercial uses. Verbio acquired the plant in May 2023 from Mercuria Investments and announced an estimated total investment plan of $230 million. Commercial production of RNG is expected to begin in 2026.