Many scientists connect great hopes with the so called perovskite solar cells. Becausethey can be produced relatively easily and have achieved very high levels of efficiencyin the laboratory. However, the production process from an environmental point ofview is not without problems. Because the solar cells work only through the use ofenvironmentally harmful lead. Researchers around the world have already tried to findless harmful substitutes. So far this has not succeeded but, without massively reducethe efficiency of the solar panels. Scientists of the “Massachusetts Institute oftechnology“ have now chosen a different approach: they have developed a techniquewhich lead from old car batteries can be used for the production of the perovskitecell.
According to the researchers involved the degree of efficiency of the modules willremain right – regardless, whether new or recycled lead is used. The lead itself is of course therefore not environmentally friendly. Through the use of recycled material –that exists anyway – could be prevented however, that in the future much more lead ismined. A single damaged car battery ranges to produce approximately 700 square metres on perovskite solar cells. This could be powered then at least between 14 and32 houses. To supply the entire United States with solar power, then already 12.2million car batteries would be needed.
The use of old car batteries for the production of perovskite solar cells is of courseonly an interim solution. Because the use of lead is controversial even when car batteries – and new forms of battery on the market will be in the long run. Scientistsprefer to speak of a temporary solution until a procedure has been developed toproduce perovskite solar cells without the use of lead. Until then, comparativelyenvironmentally friendly and low-cost availability of lead could however ensure thatthe new solar cells can be economically produced and used.