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VERBIO to acquire DowDuPont's cellulosic ethanol plant

In the United States (US), VERBIO North America Corporation, a 51 percent subsidiary of Germany-headed independent biodiesel, ethanol, and biogas major VERBIO Vereinigte BioEnergy AG (VERBIO), has announced that it has signed a contract with E.I. DuPont de Nemours and Company (DuPont) to purchase its idled cellulosic ethanol plant in Nevada, Iowa. Pending the resolution of certain agreement conditions, the closing is expected by year-end 2018.

VERBIO is to acquire DowDuPont’s shuttered cellulosic ethanol facility in Nevada, Iowa (photo courtesy DuPont).

According to a statement, the purchase agreement includes about 100 000 tonnes of baled corn stover, which is located at multiple sites within a 50 km radius of the plant. Opened in October 2015, the ethanol plant has a nameplate capacity for processing 300 000 tonnes of corn stover into approximately 115 000 m3 of cellulosic ethanol. However, the plant never achieved ramp up and was shuttered and put up for sale in November 2017 by DowDuPont.

In the first phase planned expansion, VERBIO will supplement the existing facility by constructing a straw biomethane plant with a thermal output of approximately 20 MW. Additional investment costs, taking into account the existing infrastructure and usable plant components, are expected to amount to approximately US$ 25 to 35 million.

This transaction allows VERBIO to enter the world’s largest biofuel market using its unique straw bio-methane technology. There are good opportunities for growth in the viable US market for renewable natural gas (RNG). The project costs will be financed by using VERBIO AG’s freely available cash and internal cash flow.

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