Recycling perovskite solar cells through inexpensive quality recovery andreuse of patterned indium tin oxide and substrates from expired devices bysingle solvent treatment
The predominant expense for the manufacturing cost of new generation photovoltaic devices including perovskite solar cells (PSC) emanate from the use of indium tin oxide (ITO) as transparent electrodes and is due to its limited supply and patterning costs. The PSC devices also struggle with low lifetime, and thus it has a high potential of generating rapid end-of-life (EOL) products resulting in surged photovoltaic wastes. In addition, the PSC devices contain unfavorable toxic elements such as lead and thus any effort to tackle the problem would help the environmental sustainability. In this article, the aforementioned issues were solved by the quality recovery of patterned ITO substrates from old devices through “top-down” approach, which essentially stripped out the unsought component layers present on ITO and subsequently reused for fresh devices. The PSC recycling and ITO recovery was done by treating EOL device with a single non-volatile inexpensive alkaline solvent. The appropriately recovered ITO had shown (optical, surface and electrical) properties close to the reference and was found to be suitable for direct reuse as the best power conversion efficiency (PCE) of recycled PSC varied only 0.85% less than the initial device.