Solar cells may let you harness sustainable energy, but they also create electronic waste once their life cycle is over. Addressing the issue, researchers at Georgia Institute of Technology and Purdue University have come up with sustainable solar cells that are made using natural substances from plants and trees, which can be recycled to reduce the electronic waste that is piling up all across the world.
Offering an efficiency of 2.7 percent, the new organic solar cells can be recycled by simply immersing them in water at room temperature, where the CNC substrate liquefies, within a few minutes of soaking, to separate major components for reprocessing. The optically transparent CNC substrates let the light traverse before it’s sopped up by a thin layer of an organic semiconductor. Many may question the 2.7 percent efficiency (of course, which can be increased), but if you consider the environmental benefits, the recyclable solar cells definitely stand a chance.