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Government Relations
The modern ethanol industry is a direct result of deliberate public policy measures designed to support the development of renewable alcohols from a range of feedstocks. Consequently there are numerous legislative and regulatory programs that impact ethanol development, at both the federal and state level. Energy, agriculture, environment, transportation, and tax policy all play a role in shaping the ethanol industry, and all must be monitored and require direct involvement.

As the founder and managing entity for the Clean Fuels Development Coalition, Durante Associates personnel have been involved in virtually every major legislative and regulatory initiative affecting the ethanol industry since its inception 25 years ago. The firm has a detailed knowledge of the legislative process as it affects ethanol, as well as the federal agency programs that implement policy. The firm works directly with members of Congress and agency personnel on these issues. In addition, an increasing role in recent years by state governments in these programs has resulted in significant interaction with Governors and state energy, agriculture, and air quality officials

Market Assessment & Analysis
This is a direct outgrowth of the firm’s extensive work in the legislative and regulatory arena, since ethanol demand is in large part driven by so many external factors. Durante Associates has developed economic and statistical data on fuel production, pricing and distribution. They have conducted ethanol market studies for more than a dozen clients and participated in many others as a subcontractor. Clean air needs, oxygen requirements, local tax incentives, and many other factors are considered in determining market demand and value.

The firm has been involved in developing a more favorable market through the establishment of incentives or the development of strategic partnerships.

Advanced Technology Production & Applications
In its simplest form, ethanol is used as an octane enhancer and gasoline extender. In addition, it has been effectively used as a gasoline additive to reduce emissions and is a well known pollution control strategy. Durante Associates has assisted metropolitan areas in quantifying the emission reductions they might expect from clean fuel programs utilizing ethanol, and helped in working with state and federal air quality officials.

In addition to its use as a gasoline additive, the use of ethanol derived from domestic agricultural products or urban, forestry, or other wastes, in the production of hydrogen or in direct fuel cell applications is an exciting possibility. Durante Associates is working with commercial development companies exploring this possibility. Ethanol is also expanding its role as an alternative fuel, used in dedicated or hybrid vehicles. The firm works with major automobile manufacturers in an effort to support E85 programs. As the cost of petroleum products rises the availability of alternative fuels becomes more and more important, and there is increasing interest in these advanced applications.

On the production side, with a mature, corn based industry providing much of the product throughout the Midwest, other regions of the country are anxious to achieve some of the economic benefits those Midwestern states are experiencing. New technologies including acid and enzymatic hydrolysis, gasification, and hybrid combinations may unlock the hidden potential of cellulosic biomass. Durante Associates has worked with many of the major firms developing these technologies and currently represents two such firms.

Plant Design and Siting
As the demand for ethanol increases, more production capacity is required, and new plants must be built. Durante Associates has assisted a number of companies in planning and siting such plants from Maryland to Hawaii. Logistics for the siting of these plants is a critical issue. Proximity to the raw materials and a myriad of regulatory and transportation issues, are only a few of the considerations needed. Local and federal legislation are also factors. Many firms successful in other business areas have utilized Durante Associates’ services to identify vendors, including those in the design, build, and construction industries. Durante Associates works with all the major ethanol firms and has the experience in all of these areas to provide cost efficient services to companies entering this business area.

Project Development
Durante Associates can combine all of the above areas into a lead role in project development. In the past that has included serving as a general contractor, helping clients identify potential plant sites, strategic partners, identifying and selecting design and build firms, marketing of the product, establishment of local incentives, identification of permitting and other regulatory challenges, developing government and community relations strategies, and countless other tasks associated with developing a project.

The firm has performed nearly one dozen “pre feasibility” studies at a fraction of the cost of a traditional feasibility study. These studies are designed in stages, providing incremental information that provides several “go-no go” jumping off points. By making general cost and production assumptions, these studies focus on transportation, marketing, and siting issues that often indicate at an early stage whether the project might be successful. These studies have often resulted in clients deciding not to pursue the project, but they are thankful to Durante Associates for having been able to avoid significant and unnecessary costs to make that determination.

For those projects that do go ahead, financing ethanol plants is a unique challenge, and the firm can help facilitate discussions between clients and many of the financial institutions we are in contact with.


Ethanol Programs

Doug Durante during the Chief Ethanol plant expansion dedication in Hastings, Nebraska.


Durante Associates was the original founder and currently serves as the operating manager for the Clean Fuels Development Coalition (CFDC), a non-profit organization promoting the production and use of alternative transportation fuels. The CFDC is comprised of agricultural organizations, fuel producers and marketers, automobile manufacturers, new technology firms, and other related industries. The CFDC has become nationally recognized for its work on the Clean Air Act of 1990 and is involved in a variety of legislative and regulatory issues.

For a major U.S. energy and environmental company expanding into the alternative fuels industry, Durante Associates assisted in the siting, financing, and complete development of an ethanol production facility. The firm also conducted a market assessment and analysis for the ethanol to be used as a gasoline additive to reduce auto emissions.

Durante Associates designed and implemented an entire state incentive program on behalf of a U.S energy company seeking to enter the ethanol industry. The firm worked with the state legislature and relevant agencies to design an incentive package of tax incentives for both ethanol production and utilization.

For a rural Midwest community, Durante Associates conducted a study to determine the feasibility of building a locally owned ethanol plant. Durante Associates assisted in designing the study and securing the resources to fund it. Durante Associates assembled a team, including a certified design and build firm, in order to conduct a preliminary pro forma economic assessment. The study developed a number of economic scenarios on input costs, and ran projections on varying levels of ethanol and co-product returns. It was determined that there were insufficient returns to justify investment, and the project did not go forward.

Durante Associates was retained by an investment firm involved in financing ethanol plants to identify the impact of pending legislative actions on several projects they were involved with. The firm’s report and sensitivity analysis resulted in one of the plants going forward.

While skilled in general communications techniques, Durante Associates has designed the comprehensive communications, education, and outreach program for a non-profit Foundation supporting alternative fuels. This program includes publications, workshops, and a radio program. The firm has served as spokesmen for clients on radio and television, and written speeches and ghost written various articles.

Roger Conway, Director of the U.S. Department of Agriculture's office of energy, policy, and new uses checks out a new GM E85 pickup with Doug Durante.



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