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Recycling Old Car Batteries Into Perovskite Solar Cells

A system proposed at MIT recycles materials from discarded car batteries - a potential source of lead pollution - into new, long-lasting solar panels that provide emissions-free power. The system is based on a recent development in solar cells that makes use of a compound called perovskite – specifically, organolead halide perovskite – a technology that has rapidly progressed from initial experiments to a point where its efficiency is nearly competitive with that of other types of solar cells. Because the perovskite photovoltaic material takes the form of a thin film just half a micrometer thick, the team's analysis shows that the lead from a single car battery could produce enough solar panels to provide power for 30 households. In a finished solar panel, the lead-containing layer would be fully encapsulated by other materials, limiting the risk of lead contamination of the environment.