Its economic success, scientists say, is due to the presence of Norway's high carbon taxes, which give green technologies an advantage by discouraging carbon emissions.
Carbon taxes are charged to a company for every ton of carbon dioxide it emits, so that it becomes increasingly costly to be dirty. Thus the taxes encourage companies to be green.
When a clean technology is expensive-incorporating carbon capture and storage into a power plant costs $30 to $70 per ton of carbon dioxide-taxes on emissions level the playing field and help make it viable.
A policy framework, therefore, is essential for making carbon capture and storage economical, the Stanford researchers said.
''We need thousands of projects,'' Benson said. ''That's the kind of thing that will only happen if there are global policies to address these issues. That's the number one critical thing.''
With the proper development, Benson believes that carbon sequestration could be ripe for industry in the next 20 years.
'A family of solutions'
Critics of carbon sequestration argue that the technology will divert attention from research on long-term clean energy options, such as renewable power. Worse, they fear it will prolong fossil fuel use, if fossil fuels from some stationary sources can be used more cleanly.
But the researchers continually emphasize the need to adopt other technologies in addition to carbon sequestration.
''Geological sequestration is going to be one of a family of solutions for addressing the greenhouse gas issue,'' said Zoback.
Energy efficiency and renewable energy are already feasible today and also can define the long-term energy picture, he said.
''[Carbon dioxide] sequestration, on the other hand, is only a bridge technology,'' he added. ''Maybe we have another hundred years of using fossil fuels, and then we