IBM technology is being used in a carbon emission monitoring tool that can enable companies to help pay for carbon reduction measures by selling emission reduction credits.

As part of the Kyoto Protocol, businesses can offset their carbon emissions by buying carbon credits. These are certified reductions in carbon emissions over a period of time by a defined and verified source, such as an India-based power generating company.

The certifying of carbon emissions to create credits is a complex and closely-regulated matter as, in effect, carbon credits are a form of currency. Generally, customised measures are used and these are expensive to obtain and develop.

The GreenCert meter has been developed by US-based Evergreen Energy's subsidiary C-Lock (think carbon lock). It wanted to measure Evergreen's own carbon reductions through using cleaner coal fuel, and developed a range of sensors and monitors and recorded, processed and reported the results using software and expertise from IBM partner Enterprise Information Technology (EIM).

The IBM products include the WebSphere portal, Process Server and Business Process Management software, Lotus Forms, and DB2 database, Content Manager and Records Manager. A services-oriented architecture is used.

The combined sensors and monitoring tools and IBM products have been made into a product called the GreenCert meter. A business could use the GreenCert meter to measure and verify carbon emissions before a carbon reduction initiative is implemented. After that is done, the reduction is considered to be valid and verified.

Such verified emission reductions can be packaged and sold on world carbon credit markets as Certified Emission Reduction Credits (CCERC). These have a value of between $3 and $8/tonne (about £1.50 - £4.00 at ordinary conversion rates.)

This will provide revenue to help a business pay for carbon reduction efforts once they are operating. GreenCert can be applied as a general tool to agriculture, energy, government and financial concerns and enable them to participate in the carbon credit trading markets without having to pay for expensive customised technology.

GreenCert will be available in the first half of next year from C-Lock. Pricing was not disclosed.