As lithium-ion batteries continue to decrease in price, they are quickly replacing the lead-acid batteries traditionally used in cars and other vehicles. This is creating a sudden abundance of used lead acid batteries, which would be harmful to the environment and people if not recycled properly. To help deal with this problem, researchers developed an environmentally friendly method to turn lead from used lead acid batteries into photodetectors operating in the UV-visible band.

“We believe this recycling strategy could significantly reduce the lead pollution resulting from waste lead acid batteries, which is important to the environment,” said research team leader Longxing Su from Southern University of Science and Technology in China. Although the lead found in used lead acid batteries can be recycled, most methods used for this are expensive and have various drawbacks. Su’s research team developed a more efficient strategy to produce PbI2 from the lead paste found within lead acid batteries.

The researchers are now working on scaling up their process to mass-produce recycled PbI2. Before commercialization, the recycled PbI2 and photodetectors made from it would need to be verified by independent testing organizations and companies interested in incorporating the photodetectors into downstream products.

Source: Eurek Alert!

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