Researchers find another means to sequester lead in perovskite solar cells

Nov 1, 2021 12:07 PM ET
  • Scientists at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) and North Illinois University (NIU) have successfully avoided lead from running away damaged perovskite solar cells. The research initiative is their most current work in resolving concerns concerning possible lead toxicity.
Researchers find another means to sequester lead in perovskite solar cells
Image: National Renewable Energy Laboratory

The light-absorbing layer in perovskite solar cells includes a percentage of lead. Simply encapsulating solar cells does not stop lead from dripping if the device were to become damaged by extreme weather conditions, such as a hailstorm. Rather, chemical absorption holds the key.

The researchers report being able to record greater than 99.9% of leakage. Their searchings for, in an article entitled "On-device lead soaking up tapes for sustainable perovskite solar cells," appears in the journal Nature Sustainability.

The writers are Fei Zhang, Jinhui Tong, and Kai Zhu of NREL; as well as Xun Li, Jianxin Wang, and Tao Xu of NIU.

" It is beneficial to create an approach that can be applied to various perovskite solar cell setups," Zhu claimed.

Zhu as well as some of the very same researchers in 2020 reported successful experiments in withdrawing lead should a perovskite cell come to be harmed. They established lead-absorbing films, used them to both sides of a cell, and after that shattered them with a hammer and also reduced them with a blade. The damaged cell was after that immersed in water. The researchers found the films protected against greater than 96% of the lead from dripping right into the water.

Researchers somewhere else followed up on the lead worry and established a resin that could be included right into a perovskite solar cell. But, as the NREL as well as NIU scientists kept in mind, "These extra adjustments can make complex the gadget construction as well as configuration as well as possibly limitation gadget performance as well as scale-up."

Rather, the authors noted in the paper, a much better recommendation is to develop long lasting and also very effective lead-absorbing elements that can be "easily installed" onto the perovskite solar cell as a device.

The NREL and NIU scientists think they have found an option being used a tape-like chemical absorption technique that can be easily set up on both sides of a perovskite solar cell. In a series of examinations, the tapes caught nearly all of the lead leakage without compromising the cell's performance and operation. The tapes were constructed from a basic solar ethylene vinyl acetate (EVA) film and a pre-laminated di(2-ethylhexyl) methanediphosphonic acid layer.

After harming the perovskite solar cells, the researchers performed a collection of tests to measure just how much lead would escape right into water. In one experiment, the focus of lead in water that fell on the harmed tool balanced about 19.14 parts per million. The tape brought that figure down to 2.13 parts per billion. To put this figure in context, the Environmental Protection Agency considers water secure to drink if the lead content is less than 15 components per billion.

"Because EVA has actually been thoroughly made use of as a cost-efficient as well as sturdy encapsulating material for silicon-based solar panels, the assimilation of lead-absorbing products with EVA offers an industrially all set and stand-alone part to facilitate the future market fostering of perovskite solar cells," Xu claimed.

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