Iowa biorefinery the first to produce natural gas from corn residue
A biorefinery in central Iowa is producing natural gas from corn stover.
VERBIO North America CEO Greg Northrup says they are the first company to use agricultural residue to create biomethane gas.
“Most of the renewable natural gas made today either comes from landfills, where they take methane and they upgrade it to pipeline-quality natural gas. Or from wastewater treatment plants where they put it through an anaerobic digestion process to then make methane to then again upgrade it to renewable natural gas.”
The corn stalk bales are the primary feedstock for the Nevada facility and a new source of revenue for area farmers.
“We grind it up into pretty small particles before we put it through an anaerobic digester, which then turns it into methane gas. Which we then upgrade to pipeline-quality gas before we inject it into a natural gas distribution system sitting outside our front door.”
Northrup tells Brownfield VERBIO pays farmers a negotiated fee and plans to use up to 90,000 tons of corn stover in the first phase of the project and will eventually produce 21 million gallons of renewable natural gas for utilities like Alliant Energy.