• 55 mins BP To Invest $200 Million In Solar
  • 2 hours Tesla Opens New Showroom In NYC
  • 3 hours Petrobras CEO Hints At New Partner In Oil-Rich Campos Basin
  • 5 hours Venezuela Sells Oil Refinery Stake To Cuba
  • 11 hours Tesla Is “Headed For A Brick Wall”
  • 16 hours Norwegian Pension Fund Set to Divest From Oil Sands and Coal Ventures
  • 20 hours IEA: “2018 Might Not Be Quite So Happy For OPEC Producers”
  • 21 hours Goldman Bullish On Oil Markets
  • 22 hours OPEC Member Nigeria To Issue Africa’s First Sovereign Green Bond
  • 1 day Nigeria To Spend $1B Of Oil Money Fighting Boko Haram
  • 1 day Syria Aims To Begin Offshore Gas Exploration In 2019
  • 1 day Australian Watchdog Blocks BP Fuel Station Acquisition
  • 1 day Colombia Boosts Oil & Gas Investment
  • 2 days Environmentalists Rev Up Anti-Keystone XL Angst Amongst Landowners
  • 2 days Venezuelan Default Swap Bonds At 19.25 Cents On The Dollar
  • 2 days Aramco On The Hunt For IPO Global Coordinators
  • 2 days ADNOC Distribution Jumps 16% At Market Debut In UAE
  • 2 days India Feels the Pinch As Oil Prices Rise
  • 2 days Aramco Announces $40 Billion Investment Program
  • 2 days Top Insurer Axa To Exit Oil Sands
  • 3 days API Reports Huge Crude Draw
  • 3 days Venezuela “Can’t Even Write A Check For $21.5M Dollars.”
  • 3 days EIA Lowers 2018 Oil Demand Growth Estimates By 40,000 Bpd
  • 3 days Trump Set To Open Atlantic Coast To Oil, Gas Drilling
  • 3 days Norway’s Oil And Gas Investment To Drop For Fourth Consecutive Year
  • 3 days Saudis Plan To Hike Gasoline Prices By 80% In January
  • 3 days Exxon To Start Reporting On Climate Change Effect
  • 4 days US Geological Survey To Reevaluate Bakken Oil Reserves
  • 4 days Brazil Cuts Local Content Requirements to Attract Oil Investors
  • 4 days Forties Pipeline Could Remain Shuttered For Weeks
  • 4 days Desjardins Ends Energy Loan Moratorium
  • 4 days ADNOC Distribution IPO Valuation Could Be Lesson For Aramco
  • 4 days Russia May Turn To Cryptocurrencies For Oil Trade
  • 4 days Iraq-Iran Oil Swap Deal To Run For 1 Year
  • 7 days Venezuelan Crude Exports To U.S. Fall To 15-year Lows
  • 7 days Mexico Blames Brazil For Failing Auction
  • 7 days Norway Allows Eni To Restart Goliat Oil Field In Barents Sea
  • 7 days Malaysia Suggests Muslim Countries Stop Trading Oil In U.S. Dollars
  • 7 days Kinder Morgan Wins Appeal To Start Trans Mountain Work
  • 7 days Mexico Cancels Deepwater JV Tender Due To Lack Of Interest

Breaking News:

BP To Invest $200 Million In Solar

Blockchain And The $3.6 Trillion Infrastructure Crisis

Blockchain And The $3.6 Trillion Infrastructure Crisis

There is an infrastructure crisis…

The ‘Unknown Unknowns’ That Threaten U.S. Shale

The ‘Unknown Unknowns’ That Threaten U.S. Shale

Projections for U.S. shale growth…

MIT Turns Dead Car Batteries Into Clean Solar Energy

MIT Turns Dead Car Batteries Into Clean Solar Energy

When a car battery calls it quits, it usually ends up at a service station that disposes of it responsibly, because it contains toxic lead.

A team of MIT researchers thought there might be something worth keeping, and now say they have successfully recycled materials from spent batteries to create long-lasting, clean-running solar panels.

Recent solar cell research has included the use of perovskite – its formal name is “organolead halide perovskite” – which has been tweaked to the point where its efficiency in turning solar energy into electricity is nearly competitive with conventional solar cells.

“It went from initial demonstrations to good efficiency in less than two years,” team member Angela M. Belcher, the W.M. Keck Professor of Energy at MIT, told MIT News. Already, perovskite-based photovoltaic cells have achieved power-conversion efficiency of more than 19 percent, which is close to that of many commercial silicon-based solar cells, whose efficiency is around 25 percent.

Until now there’s been one serious liability to using perovskite technology: It uses lead, whose extraction from ores can produce toxic residues. But converting used automotive batteries for use in photovoltaic cells can keep their toxins out of landfills and, simultaneously, produce electric power for decades after they were thought to have been rendered useless.

In their paper published in the journal Energy and Environmental Science, a team led by Belch and Paula T. Hammond explains that the perovskite photovoltaic material is formed into a thin film no thicker than a microcrometer – one millionth of a meter. The lead recycled from just one recycled car battery could be used to provide solar power to 30 households.

Producing perovskite solar cells is fairly simple and not hazardous. “It has the advantage of being a low-temperature process, and the number of steps is reduced” compared with the manufacture of conventional solar cells, according to Belcher.

Another member of the team, Po-Yen Chen, an MIT graduate student, adds that this simple process will help make it “easy to get to large scale cheaply.”

Recycling used car batteries isn’t a new idea, but until now, about 90 percent are recycled into new car batteries. But that practice will diminish and perhaps even die out as automakers opt for different batteries for their cars. Using lead batteries for solar panels will give them new life.

As for lead in the solar panels themselves, Chen says it would be encapsulated with protective coatings to prevent environmental contamination, just as conventional cells are protected. When the solar panels are retired, she says, their lead can again be recycled into new solar panels.

By Andy Tully of Oilprice.com



Join the discussion | Back to homepage

Leave a comment
  • tew on August 20 2014 said:
    There are many other uses for lead. The description in this article is very misleading. Diverting used battery lead for use in solar panels will result in more lead ore being mined for other lead purposes. More importantly, the use of lead in solar panels may case lead waste to become more dispersed and more difficult to control.

Leave a comment

Oilprice - The No. 1 Source for Oil & Energy News