Assessing Health and Environmental Impacts of Solvents for Producing Perovskite Solar Cells

Maria Rosario Vidal-Nadal, Jaume-Adrià Alberola-Borràs, Severin Habisreutinger, Joaquín-Luis Gimeno-Molina, David Moore, Tracy Schloemer, Iván Mora-Seró, Joseph Berry, Joseph Luther

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

122 Scopus Citations


Halide perovskites are poised as a game-changing semiconductor system with diverse applications in optoelectronics. Industrial entities aim to commercialize perovskite technologies because of high performance but also because this type of semiconductor can be processed from solution, a feature enabling low cost and fast production. Here, we analyse the health and environmental impacts of eight solvents commonly used in perovskite processing. We consider first- and higher-order ramifications of each solvent on an industrial scale such as solvent production, use/removal, emissions and potential end-of-life treatments. Further, we consider the energy of evaporation for each solvent, air emission, condensation and subsequent incineration, reuse or distillation for solvent recycling, and apply a full end-of-life analysis. For human health impact, we use the ‘USEtox’ method but also consider toxicity data beyond carcinogenic classifications. We find that dimethyl sulfoxide has the lowest total impact, by being the most environmentally friendly and least deleterious to human health of the solvents considered. The analysis of the effects of these solvents on human health and the environment provides guidance for sustainable development of this new technology.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)277-285
Number of pages9
JournalNature Sustainability
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020, This is a U.S. government work and not under copyright protection in the U.S.; foreign copyright protection may apply.

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/JA-5900-75780


  • human health environmental impacts
  • human health toxicity
  • life cycle assessment
  • perovskite
  • solvents


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