Research finds replacement of toxic solvents for safer, greener solar cells

Industry Insights

In a new development, a research team at the SPECIFIC Innovation and Knowledge Centre, at Swansea University have discovered a new way to fabricate next-generation solar cells. The method replaces the use of toxic, unsustainable solvents that are currently used to make new-age solar cells.

In fact, printed type carbon perovskite solar cells are described to be the likely frontrunner to make into the market. This is because they are extremely efficient to convert light into electricity, and are cheap and easy to make.

Meanwhile, researchers at SPECIFIC have discovered a non-toxic biodegradable solvent that could replace conventional solvents without having an impact on cell performance.

Interestingly, the new solvent is replete with advantages. It can improve the commercial viability of carbon perovskite solar devices. Moreover, these solvents are composed of sustainable feedstocks, are not surrounded by legal issues for their use around the world, are suitable for use in large-scale manufacturing processes, and non-toxic and biodegradable.

“The way solar cells are manufactured needs to as green as the way they produce energy, for them to be truly environmentally sustainable,” sated the lead researcher. With the next-generation solar technologies approaching commercial viability, research required to lower the environmental impact of large-scale production of solar cells will be increasingly important.

Nonetheless, there are several problems that need to be addresses before these technologies become commercial reality. Importantly, the solvent problem posed a major hurdle, which not limited large-scale manufacturing but also held back research in countries that have banned solvents.

The discovery will enable countries to participate in research that have earlier been unable to do so, and become part of the community, added the research group leader.

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