A lead-free and non-toxic alternative to current perovskite solar-cell technology has been reported by researchers in the UK: tin halide perovskite solar cells. They are also cheaper to manufacture than the silicon solar cells currently dominating the market.
Nakita Noel, part of Henry Snaith’s research team at the University of Oxford, describes how perovskite materials have caused a bit of a whirlwind since they came out in 2009: ‘Everybody that’s working in the solar community is looking to beat silicon.’ Despite the high efficiency of conventional crystalline silicon solar cells (around 20%), high production and installation costs decrease their economic feasibility and widespread use.
The challenge to find a cheaper alternative led to the development of perovskite-based solar cells, as organic–inorganic metal trihalide perovskites have both abundant and cheap starting materials. However, the presence of lead in some semiconductors could create toxicology issues in the future. As Noel puts it ‘every conference you present at somebody is bound to put up their hand and ask “What about the lead – isn’t this toxic?”
Interested to find out more? Read the full article by Vicki Marshall in Chemistry World.
Read the original article in Energy & Environmental Science.
Lead-Free Organic-Inorganic Tin Halide Perovskites for Photovoltaic Applications
Nakita K. Noel, Samuel D. Stranks, Antonio Abate, Christian Wehrenfennig, Simone Guarnera, Amir Haghighirad, Aditya Sadhanala, Giles E Eperon, Sandeep K. Pathak, Michael B Johnston, annamaria petrozza, Laura Herz and Henry Snaith
Energy Environ. Sci., 2014, Accepted Manuscript