“The way solar is progressing it will just be a matter of time before it becomes competitive with fossil fuels and eventually replace them.”
So says Dr Jon Major who led a team at Liverpool University that has found a way of replacing one toxic element, used in the process of manufacturing solar cells, with a material found in bath salts.
Around 7% of the solar cells manufactured today are made from a material called cadmium telluride. The cadmium telluride cells are thinner than silicon and they are popular because they are also lighter and cheaper.
They have more than one drawback. Tellurium is rare. And a toxic chemical, cadmium chloride, is needed to manufacture the the cells. Cadmium chloride is also expensive. In addition, a significant proportion of the manufacturing cost of cadmium telluride cells is to protect the workforce from toxins and to dispose of contaminated waste products safely, according to the research team.
Dr Major discovered that a cheaper, non-toxic alternative, magnesium chloride, could be used instead of the toxic compound and work just as well. Magnesium chloride is completely safe. It is used to make tofu and is found in bath salts. It also extracted from sea water and so is a small fraction of the price of cadmium chloride.
Dr. Major believes that solar energy could eventually meet the world’s energy needs.
“There is enough sunlight that falls on the Earth every hour to generate enough electricity for the planet for a year,” he said.
Consider the First Source!
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word choreographed an assembly of amino acids into an exquisite array of specific proteins. Then God said, “I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food.” In so doing God demonstrated a penchant for genomic writing, preceeded by an amazing series of prebiotic events, in a highly orchestrated presentation of evolutionary overcontrol.