E2 Round-up: A plea for Yucca, progress on biofuels, and what healthcare may mean for climate legislation

Shell and Virent, a Wisconsin company, announced this week they had made major progress on developing a sugar-based alternative to gasoline The fuel would hold several advantages over corn-based ethanol, according to the companies.

From the Houston Chronicle: “Biogasoline has higher energy content, making it more fuel-efficient than ethanol. It can also be used in high concentrations without modifying conventional gasoline engines, and can be stored and transported in existing oil industry infrastructure, the companies said.”

Luis Scoffone, vice president of alternative energies at Shell, cautioned however that biogasoline is still in its early days of development and is just one of many "alternative fuel pathways" the company is exploring, the Chronicle reports.

Conventional wisdom holds that the bitterness of the health debate “poisons the well” for the push to put a cap on carbon dioxide. But overseas an alternative view is emerging.

BBC’s Richard Black ruminates on the topic. While the road will still be difficult passage of healthcare reform Black says President Barack Obama’s victory may his administration’s efforts to pass climate legislation.

Kate Mackenzie of the Financial Times meanwhile notes a widely circulated critique of Republicans by Republican David Frum, who warned that his party made a mistake by dealing on healthcare reform.

On climate change there may be even more reason to compromise, Mackenzie writes.

“The advantages of offering to share the marbles could be considerable: many of the Republican party’s biggest donors are in the oil and gas industry, and opposition Senators could have huge influence in shaping the final bill if they were able to provide the votes to get it through Congress.”