Eni backs U.S. nuclear fusion firm formed by ex-MIT researchers

FILE PHOTO: Eni's logo is seen in front of its headquarters in San Donato Milanese, near Milan, Italy, April 27, 2016. REUTERS/Stefano Rellandini/File Photo

MILAN (Reuters) - Italian energy company Eni will conduct research with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and invest in a company created by former MIT scientists to produce energy from nuclear fusion.

Fusion “is a goal that we are increasingly determined to reach quickly,” Eni CEO Claudio Descalzi said in a statement.

As part of its plans to reduce the use of carbon, Eni will make an initial investment of $50 million to acquire a significant stake in Commonwealth Fusion Systems (CFS), a company set up by former MIT researchers.

“Eni will support CFS to develop the first commercial power plant producing energy by fusion, a safe, sustainable, virtually inexhaustible source without any emission of pollutants and greenhouse gases,” Eni said.

The Italian company will also carry out research with MIT on plasma physics, advanced fusion and electromagnetic technologies, it said.

Reporting by Francesca Landini; editing by Jason Neely