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GERMANY-BASED VERBIO OPENS BIOREFINERY IN IOWA, PRODUCES NATURAL GAS FROM CORN STOVER
by Donnelle Eller, Des Moines Register

Calling the technology at a central Iowa biorefinery a game changer, corporate and elected officials marked the start of commercial production of renewable natural gas and ethanol at a $115 million central Iowa biorefinery Friday.

"This is a special day for Iowa and for the renewable fuels industry," Gov. Kim Reynolds said at the German-owned Verbio Nevada Biorefinery, which is making renewable natural gas from corn cobs, husks and other crop residue it buys from central Iowa farmers.

The plant, occupying the site of the former DuPont cellulosic ethanol facility between Nevada and Ames on Lincolnway Highway, is expected when fully operation to make renewable natural gas that contains the energy equivalent of 19 million gallons of ethanol each year. It also will produce 60 million gallons of corn-based ethanol annually.

Reynolds said she was impressed with Verbio's vision and innovation when she first heard about the project in 2019. She said she also was impressed with the "opportunities to continue to lead and grow an industry that is very important to Iowa."

The state is the leading U.S. producer of ethanol and the corn that's used to make it.

No other company in the U.S. is making renewable natural gas using farm residue at an industrial scale, said Claus Sauter, CEO of Verbio AG, the publicly traded German company that is the parent of Verbio Nevada.

"But it will not be the last," Sauter, adding that Verbio AG plans to open new renewable natural gas facilities, potentially one each year, in the U.S. The company said in a statement it could open up to 10 plants within five years.

"We are committed to the U.S., particularly in Iowa, as evidenced with the $150 million investment we are making here. And our plans are bigger, much bigger," Sauter said. "With the right biofuels policies in place, we believe Iowa and the U.S. have immense potential."

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