One of Iowa's most abundant resources – corn "stover" – is being used to create renewable natural gas that heats its homes and businesses.
According to a report from Iowa State University, beginning December 7, the Verbio North America plant in Nevada, IA, has been converting chopped cornstalks into natural gas that enters an Alliant Energy pipeline that traverses central Iowa.
Using anaerobic digestion, eight large digesters combine the corn stover with the bacteria of livestock manure, which results in the conversion of corn residue into biomethane gas that is equivalent to the natural gas found in fossil fuels.
The plant, known as Verbio Nevada Biorefinery, is in its beginning stages with plans to expand in the coming months, with a goal of providing enough renewable natural gas, or RNG, to heat 5,000 homes.
Eight additional digesters are being built, with plans to build an additional eight, as the company begins to produce corn-based ethanol.
Arora and ISU Extension and Outreach have been involved with Verbio from the start, providing technical support, hosting farmer meetings and conducting research.