Eni joins forces with the American CFS for nuclear fusion: the first prototype in 2025

Eni joins forces with the American CFS for nuclear fusion: the first prototype in 2025

Eni aims to produce energy from nuclear fusion as early as 2025. The oil company has therefore signed today an agreement with the American Commonwealth Fusion Systems, a spinoff of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). Eni is the largest shareholder through its venture capital arm Eni Next, but has now decided to take the cooperation to the next level.

The agreement aims to industrialize the solution CFS is working on: magnetic confinement fusion which exploits the combination of two hydrogen isotopes to produce energy in virtually unlimited quantities and with zero emissions. First of all, Eni will help the American company obtain the components and authorizations necessary to develop the first pilot plant, Sparc, which should be ready in 2025, in less than three years.

The colossus led by Claudio Descalzi will then collaborate in managing the construction process of the first CFS plant, Arc, which should be able to feed electricity into the grid in early 2030. Eni’s contribution will be engineering, design and also relational, in order to identify the countries interested in hosting Arc and initiate the necessary regulatory proceedings.

Finally, the note issued by Eni also mentions the distribution of fusion energy on an industrial scale, so it is possible that the Six-legged Dog could also become the future commercial partner of the MIT spinoff.

“We will see the first CFS power plant built at the beginning of the next decade, then having almost twenty years ahead of us to spread the technology and achieve the energy transition goals for 2050”, Descalzi underlined. “We are facing a potential epochal technological breakthrough,” he added. “Eni has invested in the company since 2018 and was the first energy company to make a concrete commitment in this sector”.

The technology designed by Commonwealth Fusion Systems uses powerful magnetic fields to isolate the plasma generated by the union of two hydrogen isotopes, obtained from sea water and lithium. The goal is to replicate the process that powers the Sun on Earth, providing an alternative but clean source of energy to gas and other fossils.

In fact, fusion is capable of generating four times million times more energy per kilogram than burning coal. Unlike fission, which involves the splitting of a heavy atom (often uranium) and the production of waste, in nuclear fusion the two isotopes of hydrogen combine to form a helium nucleus, releasing in the process a huge amount of power.

The problem is being able to control this process in a safe way, being able to interrupt it in case of danger. And this is where the magnetic fields of CFS should intervene which, founded in 2017, has raised funds of over 2 billion dollars from investors of the caliber of Temasek, Google and the founder of Microsoft, Bill Gates.

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