MIT scientists use old acidic car batteries to create solar panels
A team of scientists from MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) has been working on a project for several years that will help solve two problems at once: the disposal of old acid batteries and the cost of production of solar panels.
The MIT team achieved success by managing to create solar panels from used batteries, while the efficiency of such panels is about 19%, which is comparable to the average rate of solar cells currently being produced. The new method was practiced for about 18 months, and now the researchers published an article on the results of the study, plus posted a video that shows in detail the steps for creating a photocell. In this case, perovskite (a perovskite structure, and not a natural mineral perovskite, is used as the main material that converts light into electricity)to this comment ).
By the way, Oxford Photovoltaics has recently begun a search for a method of creating perovskite solar panels, a method that would be commercially viable. In such panels there should be lead (a small percentage), and they mine it with a rather complicated, "dirty" method.
There is a lot of lead in used acidic car batteries, which are recycled, but not in all countries (about 90% of such batteries are recycled in the USA, and the rest is exported to Mexico). Presumably, the global “reserves” of such batteries are simply huge. The key idea in the article is the use of batteries as a source of lead, which, according to scientists, is cheaper and more environmentally friendly than using standard methods.
It is also important to note that the authors obtain lead iodide from both lead dioxide and pure lead, that is, both the anode and cathode of the batteries are used. Then they clean it and, using a centrifuge, precipitate it on an FTO plate. As for the substrate onto which the crystals are deposited: this is Fluorine doped Tin Oxide (FTO), i.e. fluorine doped tin oxide. Such a "glass" conducts current well. (thanks Klukonin for additional information ).
And here, the method proposed by MIT is just perfect: we recycle batteries and produce inexpensive solar panels. According to scientists, one battery is enough to create solar panels that can produce electricity for 30 households.
Here's what the lab production process looks like: