Verbio starts expansion to build second biorefinery in North America

Verbio celebrates groundbreaking to convert South Bend ethanol plant into an integrated biorefinery. The $230 million investment will upgrade and expand the facility for climate-friendly RNG production, using advanced Verbio technology.

South Bend, IN (May 23, 2024): 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: "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, noted: “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.

Sustainable RNG production process
Verbio uses corn procured locally from growers in the South Bend area as feedstock for its ethanol production. RNG will be created from corn stillage, a co-product stream coming from the ethanol production process. 
“Our business is focused on the sustainable use of all materials in a complex production process,” says Verbio CEO Claus Sauter. “The technology approach we are applying integrates bioethanol and RNG production in a unique way. We are working with a closed-loop system that uses all raw materials sustainably and most efficiently. Almost 100% of all accumulated waste products are being refined in further steps into high-quality fertilizer products that are then sold back to growers. Through this, we create climate-friendly products in an energy and CO2 efficient way.” 

South Bend Ethanol is the second biorefinery project of Verbio in the United States. The company`s first RNG plant in Nevada, Iowa, has been producing RNG from corn stover since 2021. The build out in South Bend 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.    

Hiring talent to support company`s green energy business 
Verbio does not only rely on processing and production technologies that are most efficient. As a growing green technology company expanding at its various locations in North America, the company is also hiring new talent to support its bioenergy operations. “We are continuously growing our business within the United States, and I would like to encourage talents to research career opportunities at Verbio,” states Claus Sauter. “A green technology company like us provides the opportunity to make an active contribution to protect the environment while working with state-of-the-art technologies.” 


Members of Verbio management and public officials celebrates groundbreaking
From left to right: General Manager Chuck Tuskan, Councilwoman Sheila Niezgodski, Verbio CEO Claus Sauter, South Bend Mayor James Mueller, Verbio North America Holdings Corp. CEO and President Greg Northrup, plant manager Rob Johnson, Director Growth & Opportunity City of South Bend Erik Glavich.

Press Contact

Holly Schnur
VERBIO North America
Marketing and Communications

Nevada Biorefinery and Agricultural Relations


Susann Smith
PR Consultant to VERBIO North America

at S. Smith Consulting