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Innovative Kiwi Startup Attracts Attention with Wood-based EV Batteries

In what could be a game-changing solution for the EV battery industry, CarbonScape, a pioneering startup from New Zealand, has procured an impressive NZD $18 million investment to commercialise graphite extracted from wood chips, targeted for European and US electric vehicle (EV) batteries.

Hailing from the heart of NZ’s timber region, CarbonScape has been delving into the conversion of forestry and timber industry leftovers like wood chips and sawdust into 'biographite' for the better part of a decade. The patented process promises a green alternative to traditional graphite sources.

The international support coming in for CarbonScape is noteworthy. Among the big names backing this innovation are the Swedish-Finnish renewable forestry juggernaut, Stora Enso, and the prominent Hong Kong battery producer, Amperex Technology (ATL). Both see value in shifting from conventional graphite, which relies heavily on petroleum-based or mined sources, to a more sustainable wood-based alternative.

The numbers speak volumes about the potential of biographite. Up to 30% of a lithium-ion battery’s weight can be attributed to graphite. CarbonScape's biographite not only offers a replacement but does so while slashing carbon footprints significantly. Every tonne of this innovative material offsets around 30 tonnes of CO2 emissions as compared to its traditional counterparts.

If the claims hold true, by 2030, we might witness a dramatic cut in the carbon emissions of the EV battery sector — a reduction equivalent to 86 million tonnes of CO2 annually. For the environmentally conscious, these figures are sure to evoke optimism.

This hefty investment influx will primarily gear CarbonScape towards expanding its operations, and blueprinting production facilities in both Europe and the United States.

As the global EV industry scrambles to address the impending graphite supply shortage projected for 2030, the spotlight is fixed on sustainable alternatives. While CarbonScape keeps its patented process close to its chest, its potential to alleviate this supply crunch can't be ignored.

The million-dollar question remains: Will the major automakers jump on this sustainable bandwagon? The indications are positive, especially with industry giants like Stora Enso not only supporting CarbonScape but also collaborating with Northvolt on comparable green battery tech ventures.

As with all pioneering ventures, only time will unfold the real impact of CarbonScape's biographite. But for now, it's safe to say the world is keenly watching this Kiwi innovation.

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