Welcome to Red Hydrocarbon

Welcome to Red Hydrocarbon, a project to explore the development of a market for hydrocarbons where there are no net emissions to the atmosphere, which we call ‘Red Hydrocarbons’.

Or more specifically, we envisage a dual market for hydrocarbons, “Red Hydrocarbon”, with no net emissions to the atmosphere, and “Black Hydrocarbon” which is the conventional type.

Over time, the % of red hydrocarbon increases and the % black hydrocarbon decreases, driven by market forces and regulation.

From a regulatory point of view we think this could be a much simpler way to ensure that emissions match the IPCC decline curve – regulators simply calculate how much fossil fuel the world can produce every year and limit the “black hydrocarbon” at that.

The practical implementation is extremely difficult but this is how we think we can do it.

We can start with a market scheme, similar to ‘green electricity’. People can choose to buy electricity of which a certain % is “red”. Running the numbers, if a country (like the UK) has 50m electricity customer accounts, average £1000 a year, and 5% of these customers are willing to pay 10% extra a year for electricity which is 25% red, that generates £250m a year to pay for carbon capture, allowing a generous 40% increase in cost for electricity with carbon capture compared to normal electricity.

It could also be possible to sell “red petrol” and “red gas”, or “red aero fuel” by a displacement scheme (where the carbon in the fuel is offset against carbon captured elsewhere).

The scheme builds on the ideas by Dr Rex Gaisford – you can read his comprehensive paper here. 

We are planning 2 conferences in Stavanger and London in May 2015 to explore this further, and we would be very keen to hear from people who have interesting ideas or expertise to share about practical implementation of Red Hydrocarbon.

We are also looking for a steering committee of experts in oil industry, regulation and markets, who can help select the best ideas and get the project moving.

To discuss further please contact Dr Rex Gaisford on rex@rexconsult.com.

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