Expansion of South Bend Ethanol to establish Verbio’s second biorefinery in the USA

Verbio continues to follow its growth strategy in North America. Total investment of EUR 230 million US dollars

Gound-breaking ceremony in South Bend, Indiana
Gound-breaking ceremony in South Bend, Indiana © Verbio

Verbio is consistently pursuing its growth strategy in the USA. The ground-breaking ceremony has been held in South Bend, Indiana for the expansion of the ethanol plant acquired from Verbio in May 2023, in order to establish it as an innovative biorefinery with combined bioethanol-biomethane production. Company representatives and politicians gathered for the occasion on Thursday, May 23, 2024 in South Bend.

Claus Sauter, Chief Executive Officer of Verbio SE, was on location in South Bend. He said, “In the USA we benefit from attractive framework conditions, low energy and raw material costs, the large volumes of biomass available and a good infrastructure, as well as political decisions that are focussed on the long-term, making them more reliable. In the medium term we will be able to produce more ethanol and biomethane in our plants in Nevada, Iowa and South Bend, Indiana than we do in Germany today.“

Ground-breaking ceremony in Verbio’s South Bend, Indiana location

The ethanol plant in South Bend is one of the first, and oldest, in the USA. Verbio acquired the plant in May 2023 from Mercuria Investments and announced that it planned to make investments totalling 230 million US dollars in the location.

With the start of the plant expansion, South Bend will in future offer combined production of bioethanol and biomethane based on the innovative Verbio technology and modelled on the Group’s German Verbio biorefineries. Verbio was granted approval for the expansion application by the City of South Bend in April 2024. Once the expansion is completed, the new plant will have an annual production capacity of at least 250,000 tonnes of bioethanol and 850,000 MWh of biomethane. The commissioning of the combined bioethanol-biomethane production facility is planned for 2026.

The biomethane will be fed into the regional natural gas grid and will be available for use as a biofuel or as a renewable energy source for industrial applications. The high-quality fertiliser created in the production process will be returned to agriculture, closing the sustainability cycle.

James Mueller, Mayor of South Bend, said: “We are very happy with Verbio’s expansion plans and the positive effects that they bring for our regional economy. As an industry leader in the production of renewable methane, Verbio will operate the ethanol plant with state-of-the-art technology and complement the clean energy portfolio in South Bend.”

Claus Sauter spoke about Verbio’s cooperation with the City: “We look forward to creating attractive employment opportunities for the citizens of South Bend and surrounding areas as we expand our growth path as a company in the renewable energy sector in the Midwestern United States.”

South Bend Ethanol is Verbio’s second biorefinery project in the USA. The Group’s first plant in Nevada, Iowa has been manufacturing biomethane from maize straw since 2021. The expansion in South Bend coincides with the launch of combined bioethanol-biomethane production at the Nevada plant, which is expected to start in the coming weeks.


Verbio, press release, 2024-05-24.


South Bend City, Indiana (US)
VERBIO - Vereinigte BioEnergie AG


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