(724f) Comparative Evaluation of Lead Emissions and Toxicity Potential in the Cradle-to-Gate Life Cycle of Lead Halide Perovskite Photovoltaics
AIChE Annual Meeting
2018 AIChE Annual Meeting
Sustainable Engineering Forum
Sustainable Energy: Generation and Storage
Thursday, November 1, 2018 - 5:00pm to 5:18pm
Lead halide perovskites are an emerging class of photovoltaic (PV) materials that have drawn intense interest due to their power conversion efficiencies above 22% and their potential for low-cost fabrication. However, the toxicity of lead causes considerable concern about its use in perovskite solar cells at large scales. Here, we quantified the lead utilization and the toxicity potential of lead-based perovskite PV in potential commercial production. Lead intensity and toxic emissions in the lead halide perovskite PV life cycle can be 5-100 times lower than those in the coal fuel life cycle and those in a representative electricity mix for the United States, for PV operational lifetimes of 20 years. We introduce the metric âtoxicity payback timeâ, which is <2 years for perovskite PVs produced by and displacing the U.S. electricity mix. Toxicity potential associated with the energy of manufacturing a PV system dominates that associated with release of embodied lead. Therefore, the use of lead should not alone preclude the commercialization of perovskite PVs; instead, effort should be focused on development of low-energy manufacturing processes and long service lifetimes. Additionally, detailed investigations are needed to quantify the full life cycle of commercial production of perovskites and to minimize potential emissions.