• 2 days PDVSA Booted From Caribbean Terminal Over Unpaid Bills
  • 2 days Russia Warns Ukraine Against Recovering Oil Off The Coast Of Crimea
  • 2 days Syrian Rebels Relinquish Control Of Major Gas Field
  • 2 days Schlumberger Warns Of Moderating Investment In North America
  • 2 days Oil Prices Set For Weekly Loss As Profit Taking Trumps Mideast Tensions
  • 2 days Energy Regulators Look To Guard Grid From Cyberattacks
  • 2 days Mexico Says OPEC Has Not Approached It For Deal Extension
  • 2 days New Video Game Targets Oil Infrastructure
  • 2 days Shell Restarts Bonny Light Exports
  • 2 days Russia’s Rosneft To Take Majority In Kurdish Oil Pipeline
  • 3 days Iraq Struggles To Replace Damaged Kirkuk Equipment As Output Falls
  • 3 days British Utility Companies Brace For Major Reforms
  • 3 days Montenegro A ‘Sweet Spot’ Of Untapped Oil, Gas In The Adriatic
  • 3 days Rosneft CEO: Rising U.S. Shale A Downside Risk To Oil Prices
  • 3 days Brazil Could Invite More Bids For Unsold Pre-Salt Oil Blocks
  • 3 days OPEC/Non-OPEC Seek Consensus On Deal Before Nov Summit
  • 3 days London Stock Exchange Boss Defends Push To Win Aramco IPO
  • 3 days Rosneft Signs $400M Deal With Kurdistan
  • 3 days Kinder Morgan Warns About Trans Mountain Delays
  • 4 days India, China, U.S., Complain Of Venezuelan Crude Oil Quality Issues
  • 4 days Kurdish Kirkuk-Ceyhan Crude Oil Flows Plunge To 225,000 Bpd
  • 4 days Russia, Saudis Team Up To Boost Fracking Tech
  • 4 days Conflicting News Spurs Doubt On Aramco IPO
  • 4 days Exxon Starts Production At New Refinery In Texas
  • 4 days Iraq Asks BP To Redevelop Kirkuk Oil Fields
  • 5 days Oil Prices Rise After U.S. API Reports Strong Crude Inventory Draw
  • 5 days Oil Gains Spur Growth In Canada’s Oil Cities
  • 5 days China To Take 5% Of Rosneft’s Output In New Deal
  • 5 days UAE Oil Giant Seeks Partnership For Possible IPO
  • 5 days Planting Trees Could Cut Emissions As Much As Quitting Oil
  • 5 days VW Fails To Secure Critical Commodity For EVs
  • 5 days Enbridge Pipeline Expansion Finally Approved
  • 5 days Iraqi Forces Seize Control Of North Oil Co Fields In Kirkuk
  • 5 days OPEC Oil Deal Compliance Falls To 86%
  • 6 days U.S. Oil Production To Increase in November As Rig Count Falls
  • 6 days Gazprom Neft Unhappy With OPEC-Russia Production Cut Deal
  • 6 days Disputed Venezuelan Vote Could Lead To More Sanctions, Clashes
  • 6 days EU Urges U.S. Congress To Protect Iran Nuclear Deal
  • 6 days Oil Rig Explosion In Louisiana Leaves 7 Injured, 1 Still Missing
  • 6 days Aramco Says No Plans To Shelve IPO
The Safest Way To Bet On The Bitcoin Boom

The Safest Way To Bet On The Bitcoin Boom

Often described as the backbone…

Tofu: Not Just For Dinner Anymore

Tofu: Not Just For Dinner Anymore

Compared to meat, tofu is a more healthful, cheaper, and less environmentally damaging food protein, and now researchers have discovered it also contains an ingredient that could replace a highly toxic and costly substance found in about 90 percent of the solar cells used today.

The traditional substance, an important element in millions of solar panels, is cadmium chloride. Not only is it toxic and expensive, it requires complex safeguards when manufacturing solar cells and special disposal after solar panels are discarded.

Enter Jon Major of the University of Liverpool’s Stephenson Institute for Renewable Energy. Major has discovered that magnesium chloride can be substituted for cadmium chloride in solar cells, and that it’s equally effective in solar cells.

Magnesium chloride is extracted from seawater and is a common ingredient in aromatic bath salts, in foods such as tofu and for melting ice on wintry roads. In other words, it so safe that people not only soak in it, they eat it as well.

By contrast, engineers applying cadmium chloride to solar cells must wear protective gear to prevent contact with the skin, eyes and lungs. Cadmium chloride treatment also requires a rinsing step, and the water used for rinsing must be processed very carefully, or it could find its way into the water table, then poison animals and people.

What’s more, magnesium chloride is so easy to find that it costs only one-one thousandth of a U.S. penny, compared with three-tenths of a cent for cadmium chloride.

Related Article: How Food Can Build Better Lithium Batteries

Major’s research was published in the scientific journal Nature.

One of the biggest problems with much renewable energy has been expense. “If renewable energy is going to compete with fossil fuels, then the cost has to come down,” Major explained. “Great strides have already been made, but the findings in this paper have the potential to reduce costs further.”

So far, the least expensive solar cells are based on a thin film of insoluble cadmium telluride. Alone, these cells convert less than two percent of sunlight into energy. By applying cadmium chloride to them, the panels’ efficiency increases to over 15 percent. And Major’s work shows that substituting magnesium chloride for cadmium chloride achieves the same efficiency.

“We have to apply cadmium chloride in a fume cupboard in the lab,” Major said, “but we created solar cells using the new method on a bench with a spray gun bought from a model shop. … Replacing [cadmium chloride] with a naturally occurring substance could save the industry a vast amount of money.”

Asked why no one had previously thought of replacing cadmium chloride with magnesium chloride, Major said, “The only reason we can suggest is that cadmium chloride works well so it may be a case of ‘if it’s not broke, why is there a need to fix it?’ ”

By Andy Tully of Oilprice.com



Join the discussion | Back to homepage

Leave a comment

Leave a comment

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