Italian energy group Eni said on Wednesday a test marking a landmark in efforts to produce energy from magnetically confined fusion had been successfully completed by its Massachusetts Institute of Technology partner.
The test showed that the new generation superconducting magnet built by MIT unit Commonwealth Fusion Systems (CFS) could generate a magnetic field powerful enough to contain a flow of super-heated plasma in a fusion-driven power plant.
Eni said the aim was to use the so-called magnetic confinement fusion technology to build a first fusion reactor some time in the next decade to generate zero-emission electricity.
As governments round the world pick up efforts to combat climate change, energy companies like Eni have launched ambitious transition strategies to cut carbon footprints and shift into clean energy.
"For Eni, magnetic confinement fusion holds a pivotal role in the technological research for decarbonization, as it will (allow) humanity to access large quantities of energy produced," Eni CEO Claudio Descalzi said.
Eni has been a shareholder of CFS since 2018. CFS works on a project based on a system known as tokamak, which uses superconducting magnets to hold the plasma at temperatures of up to 100 million degrees.
To make electricity, heat produced by the fusion of hydrogen isotopes is used to spin steam turbines in the conventional way.
CFS confirmed its project's roadmap of building a first experimental device with net energy production by 2025 with a first plant to start feeding energy into the grid in the decade starting from 2030, Eni said.