Italy's Eni and CFS speed up plans for fusion energy

FILE PHOTO: Eni's logo is seen in front of its headquarters in San Donato Milanese

MILAN (Reuters) - Italian energy group Eni and U.S.-based Commonwealth Fusion System (CFS) signed a new collaboration agreement on Thursday to accelerate the industrialisation of nuclear fusion energy.

The two partners, which started to cooperate in 2018, will work together on a series of projects aimed at launching a nuclear fusion power plant capable of feeding electricity into the grid in the early 2030s, Eni said.

Nuclear fusion energy, which would generate power from nuclear fusion reactions, will make a major contribution to energy transition and Eni said the process would help the company to reach its net-zero emissions goal by 2050.

"We will see the first CFS power plant based on magnetic confinement fusion at the beginning of the next decade, with then almost two decades ahead to deploy the technology and achieve the energy transition goals by 2050," Eni CEO Claudio Descalzi said in a statement.

In September 2021, CFS successfully tested its high-temperature superconducting magnet technology, a system that ensures plasma confinement in the magnetic fusion process.

This technology will pave the way for achieving net energy from fusion in a future demonstration plant.

The world's first magnetic confinement pilot plant with net production of fusion energy dubbed SPARC is in construction and will be operational in 2025.

SPARC will pave the way for ARC – the first commercial power plant, expected at the beginning of the next decade.

(Reporting by Francesca Landini; Editing by Susan Fenton)