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Lead from metal-organic perovskite compounds can be absorbed particularly easily by plants. The bioavailability is significantly higher than that of lead from inorganic compounds, as found in batteries. This is shown in a study by HZB researcher Antonio Abate with partners in China and Italy, published in Nature Communications.
Certain perovskite compounds are candidates for better and cheaper solar cells. Their crystal lattice is formed by organic methylammonium cations (MA+) surrounded by heavy metal atoms (lead or tin) and atoms like iodine. The best perovskite solar cells today are realized with lead. In just 10 years of research, the efficiency of these solar cells in the laboratory has been increased from 4 percent (2009) to over 25 percent (2019). However, lead is toxic and must not enter the food chain. On the other hand, very little lead is needed for a solar module: a square meter perovskite solar module contains only 0.8 grams of lead, which is very little compared to other technical sources of lead (e.g., in batteries).
Team - Prof - Antonio - Abate - Helmholtz-Zentrum
Now, a team led by Prof. Antonio Abate at the Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin has designed a study to investigate this risk. They cooperated with plant scientists from the Fujian Agriculture and Forestry University, China, where the experiments were carried out, and with a group from the university of Naples, Italy.
The plant experts prepared contaminated soil samples with different concentrations of lead from either perovskite solar cells or other lead sources and cultivated different...
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