Guest essay by Eric Worrall
h/t ResourceGuy; If you thought Arsenic doped Silicon or Gallium Arsenide on your roof was bad, how about solar cells made of organic Lead compounds, or Cadmium Telluride? Biden’s quest for cheaper solar is exploring some truly terrifying photovoltaic innovations.
U.S. pledges to slash solar energy costs by 60% in a decade
Fri March 26, 2021
March 25 (Reuters) – The Biden administration on Thursday set a goal to cut the cost of solar energy by 60% over the next decade as part of an ambitious plan to decarbonize the United States’ power sector by 2035.
The U.S. Department of Energy said the goal accelerates its previous utility-scale solar cost target by five years. For the U.S. power grid to run entirely on clean energy within 15 years, a key pillar of President Joe Biden’s climate change agenda, solar energy will need to be installed as much as five times faster than it is today, DOE said.
To get there, the agency committed to spending $128 million on technologies including perovskite solar cells, which are regarded as a promising cheap alternative to the silicon cells that dominate the market. Funds will also support research on cadmium telluride and concentrating solar technologies.
Rechargeable batteries used to contain Cadmium, it was discontinued because Cadmium is horribly toxic. less than half a gram of Cadmium in your system will really mess up your day. Symptoms include cancer, “Cadmium Blues” (persistent flu like symptoms), renal failure, softening of the bones, emphysema and respiratory damage. Can you imagine having several pounds of Cadmium on your roof? What if your neighbour’s solar powered rooftop catches fire?
Tellurium is unpleasant, though it does not seem as toxic as Cadmium. At least people seem to recover from Tellurium poisoning. Clinical features of acute tellurium toxicity include a metallic taste, nausea, vomiting, blackened oral mucosa and skin, and corrosive gastrointestinal tract injury from acidic solvents. … Our patients exhibited many of the characteristic features of tellurium toxicity, namely, vomiting, garlic odor of the breath, blackened oral mucosa, and benign clinical course. – source https://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/116/2/e319
Cadmium Telluride solar cells – double the fun, if a house fire spreads the panel material around your neighbourhood. I’m not eating pie made from that Apple tree.
The Perovskite solar cells are if anything are potentially even worse. From Wikipedia :- A perovskite solar cell (PSC) is a type of solar cell which includes a perovskite-structured compound, most commonly a hybrid organic-inorganic lead or tin halide-based material, as the light-harvesting active layer. Perovskite materials, such as methylammonium lead halides and all-inorganic caesium lead halide, are cheap to produce and simple to manufacture.
Organic lead is probably the worst form of lead exposure, because it is fat soluble. Organic lead is neatly packaged for optimum absorption into your body and brain tissue. You don’t even have to ingest or breath it in – organic lead can pass right through your skin, all it has to do is touch you.
… Lead poisoning can cause a variety of symptoms and signs which vary depending on the individual and the duration of lead exposure. Symptoms are nonspecific and may be subtle, and someone with elevated lead levels may have no symptoms. Symptoms usually develop over weeks to months as lead builds up in the body during a chronic exposure, but acute symptoms from brief, intense exposures also occur. Symptoms from exposure to organic lead, which is probably more toxic than inorganic lead due to its lipid solubility, occur rapidly. Poisoning by organic lead compounds has symptoms predominantly in the central nervous system, such as insomnia, delirium, cognitive deficits, tremor, hallucinations, and convulsions.
Symptoms may be different in adults and children; the main symptoms in adults are headache, abdominal pain, memory loss, kidney failure, male reproductive problems, and weakness, pain, or tingling in the extremities …
Read more: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lead_poisoning
There is a reason governments are moving away from allowing the addition of small amounts of organic lead to gasoline.
The tin based Perovskite is probably the least offensive of the chemicals listed. Metallic tin is commonly used as a plating on food tins, though you can still suffer acute toxicity from ingestion of soluble tin salts, say if there was a problem with processing the food. But even if they go for the tin based Perovskite, after they finish tinkering with the formula, who knows what the final recipe will contain.