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Daily Shorts: NZ bio-graphite start-up gets funding, Norway eyes 1 GW Iberdrola RE assets and more

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Norway's sovereign wealth fund is doubling a planned purchase of renewable energy assets from Iberdrola to 1 GW, according to Spanish newspaper Cinco Dias. In May, the fund had said it was looking to acquire 49 percent in a portfolio of onshore wind farms and solar power plants of capacity of 500 MW, after closing a 1.3 GW transaction for €600 million in January. Spanish power companies such as Iberdrola and Repsol have been selling stakes in advanced or completed projects to fund investments in new ones.

New Zealand-based start-up CarbonScape has raised $18 million from investors such as battery producer ATL and forestry firm Stora Enso to commercialize bio-graphite for use in batteries. The funds will be used to advance plans for production facilities in Europe and the US. Graphite, used as battery anode, can account for up to half the weight of a lithium-ion battery. Most of it is mined (natural graphite) or produced from petroleum products (synthetic graphite), but CarbonScape makes graphite from forestry by-products such as wood chips.

Volvo Cars announced the company will stop manufacturing diesel-powered cars by early 2024 as it shifts towards electric mobility. The Swedish carmaker, now majority owned by Chinese automaker Geely, has said it will become an all-electric company by 2030. Diesel vehicles were the mainstay at Volvo, constituting the majority of its sales as recently as 2019, but have since been falling down and accounted for just nine percent of vehicle sales in 2022. By comparison, EVs accounted for a third of the company's sales last month.

Shipping companies Maersk and CMA CGM announced an agreement to collaborate on emission-reduction efforts, as well as standards for green methanol-fueled vessels and research into potential fuels such as ammonia. Denmark's Maersk has focused on green methanol for powering ships, with more than 25 such ships on order, and last week set up a new company to produce the fuel. France's CMA CGM, meanwhile, has turned to gas-powered vessels but also ordered ships that can use methanol as fuel. The global shipping sector accounts for three percent of global greenhouse gas emissions. 

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