Solar power’s leaden footprint
(Science News 9/17/11) Plans by China and India to green their electricity generation could leave a very toxic footprint, a new study finds. U.S. researchers identified emissions rates for lead associated with mining, its use in batteries and battery recycling in China and other developing nations. Then the scientists applied those figures to the battery loads needed as energy storage to support the photovoltaic power goals of 1.6 gigawatts for China and 12 gigawatts for India within a decade. Achieving these targets would likely end up releasing almost 2,500 kilotons of lead into the nations’ environments, the researchers report in the September Energy Policy.