Rumors have it that Tesla will put up a lithium ion car battery plant in Nevada. This is probably the beginning of the end of finding lead acid batteries under your car’s hood, a century and a half after it was invented.
With around 200 million lead acid batteries in service today in the US alone, retiring the beasts of burden of energy storage is bound to result in a huge stockpile.
The good news is that engineers and scientists at the MIT have found a new way of using all these old car batteries – that is to turn them into solar cells. Solar cells are currently made of silicon, the same raw material used in electronic chips, and are expensive to manufacture.
Researchers at MIT developed solar cells using perovskite, a compound that is made using lead – a material that makes up 70% of your car battery’s weight. Producing solar cells made of perovskite is a process that is low temperature and has fewer steps than silicon-based solar cells.
The good news is that perovskite produced using lead recovered from recycling is as good as virgin lead from ore. This means that the lead in your car battery may eventually find its way from under the hood to the top of your roof to continue to serve your energy needs.