United Kingdom – Scientists at the University of Manchester have found a way to accelerate the uptake of solar technology, by increasing the environmental safety of perovskite solar cells.
Perovskite solar cells can be mass produced through roll-to-roll processing. Perovskite solar cells contain lead, a cumulative toxin, and if the cells get damaged, lead ions may leak.
Professor Brian Saunders and Dr David Lewis have devised a way to eliminate the lead release from broken cells. Using a bioinspired mineral called hydroxyapatite they have created a ‘failsafe’ which captures the lead ions in an inorganic matrix. As a result, if cells are damaged, toxins are stored in an inert mineral, rather than released in the environment.
The Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC)-funded project found that through the addition of hydroxyapatite, the efficiency of perovskite solar cell increased to around 21%. This compares to around 18% efficiency for control cells with no added hydroxyapatite. An increased efficiency in panels means more energy can be generated and at a lower cost.