A research team, led by Professor Lioz Etgar at The Hebrew University of Jerusalem in Israel, has developed a screen-printed three-layered all-nanoparticle network as a rigid framework for perovskites. This new design, that facilitates the removal and replacement of degraded perovskite in a solar cell, could open the door to recycling PSCs and thus making their market insertion a much safer, "greener" process.

Illustration of the FTO/mpTiO2/mpZrO2/mpITO cell design image

This matrix reportedly enables perovskites to percolate and form a complementary photoactive network. Two porous conductive oxide layers, separated by a porous insulator, serve as a chemically stable substrate for the cells.

Cells prepared using this scaffold structure demonstrated a power conversion efficiency of more than 16% with a high open-circuit voltage of 0.988 V. Being fully oxidized, the scaffold demonstrated a striking thermal and chemical stability, allowing for the removal of the perovskite while keeping the substrate intact.

The application of a new perovskite in lieu of a degraded one exhibited a full regeneration of all photovoltaic performances. Exclusive recycling of the photoactive materials from solar cells paves a path for more sustainable green energy production in the future.

In their work, the team designed a structure for perovskite solar cells composed of chemically and thermally stable oxides, which includes the application of the photoactive perovskite material as a final step. This structure allows for the removal and replacement of degraded perovskites, with a full restoration of photovoltaic characteristics. This touches upon the important issue of solar cell recycling, which will become increasingly crucial as commercialization approaches.