Sustainability issues are imperative for the survival and any technology. Lead, as other toxic compounds, has negative environmental and ecological impacts both what concerns air and water quality.
Researchers from USA and U.K. came up with new research where they claim could be a win-win solution for new long-lasting solar panels that provide emissions-free power. The idea is to use recycled lead from discarded car batteries to produce solar cells using perovskite “organo-lead halide perovskite”. This technology has rapidly progressed from initial experiments to a point where its efficiency is nearly competitive with other types of solar cells. Perovskite technology identified its use of lead as a drawback. Researchers claim that using recycled lead from old car batteries can save the environment insteed of the energy and waste demanding lead mining. Also, such technology can benefit from excess lead in the future markets because of production of new lead-free batteries.
Production of “perovskite” solar cells is relatively simple and economic as the process can be done at low-temperature with reduced number of steps as compared with the manufacture of conventional solar cells. So, it would be “easy to get to large scale cheaply”. Questions still remain (https://www.businessspectator.com.au/article/2014/8/19/solar-energy/revolutionary-perovskite-solar-cells-could-be-game-changer-questions) about how this technology become sustainable: (1) would large-scale production require additional lead mining as lead-recycling is currently used to produce lead-batteries, i.e. before there is complete shift to new car-batteries?; (2) would lead used in this technology be capsulated with no leak to the environment under the life-time of solar cells?; (3) would the life-time of “perovskite-based” solar cell be as long as traditional solar cells?