Cars powered by woodchips: Bio-graphite makes EV batteries sustainable

1 minute read / February 29, 2024

A company in New Zealand is turning discarded woodchips into synthetic graphite that can be used in EV batteries.

CarbonScape makes “bio-graphite” by heating by-products from the forestry industry using a process called thermo-catalytic graphitisation. This produces charcoal, which can be catalysed and purified into battery anode-quality graphite.

The startup says their alternative graphite is a more sustainable option and can help Europe reduce its dependence on China for Lithium-Ion batteries.

What is bio-graphite and why is it important? The graphite key to making EV batteries is currently sourced from mined natural graphite or synthetic graphite derived from petroleum products. CarbonScape’s bioraphite is much more planet-friendly, according to CEO Ivan Williams.

“The production of ‘traditional” synthetic graphite uses fossil fuel-based feedstocks, such as coal tar pitch and petroleum coke, and fossil fuel-powered processes,” he says. “Consequently, it emits 35 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent emissions for each tonne of graphite it produces.”

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