Researchers Developing Leadless Solar Cells
As far as green energy methods go, solar panels have emerged as the favourite among many consumers. Harvesting power through solar panels is particularly easier than ever and professionals, as well as private consumers alike, have noted the benefits. With the latest development regarding this technology, solar panels could be even greener.
Currently most, if not all, solar cells are made to contain lead. Even the cleanest option, crystalline silicone, needs to have a solder to join all the copper cells together, and the best material to do this is lead. Even this small amount has caused some discontent for their toxicity and unclear effect on the environment, which is why leadless solar cells have been a point of research for scientists.
In the second half of July, the University of Cambridge announced that they have been looking into substituting lead-based solar cells with the “green element” bismuth. Using methods of theoretical and experimental testing, the researchers found that bismuth integrating solar cells were capable of imitating the effective properties of lead solar cells. In addition, another unrelated team of researchers found that bismuth based cells could convert light into energy at a rate of 22%, which is capable of rivalling the best existing solar cells. The safety of bismuth has been researched extensively due to its broad use in personal care products, cosmetics, and medicines, where it is guaranteed to be non-harmful.
According to the team, the bismuth-based solar cells can be made using common industrial techniques. This would mean that they can be produced at a high scale at low cost, and just as efficiently as their competing cells.
Dashboard firmly believes that staying up to date with modern technologies, especially one as important and popular as solar power, is key. The sign of industry shifting to accommodate customer needs shows the maturity level of the technology: the developers are pushing boundaries and we believe once on the market, these bismuth-based solar cells will be met with strong support.