Tellurium could be the key to solar technology
Tellurium, a key ‘super-metal’ used in high-end solar panels, has been found at the bottom of the ocean by scientists.
The BBC reported that 480km from the coast of the Canary Islands is an undersea mountain that’s rich in the super-metal.
1,000m below the surface, the mountain is coated in approximately 2” of the rock that contains more than 50,000 times the amount of metal found on land sources.
It has been calculated that the deposits have about 2,670 metric tons of tellurium which is the same as one-12th of the world’s total supply. The main dilemma that scientists have found is if it harvested, then it could result in damage to the underwater environment.
Cadmium-telluride is one of the second generation thin-film solar cell technologies and is proven to absorb light better than silicon – a single layer of cadmium-telluride (one thousandth of a millimetre) will absorb 90% of any light hitting it.
The ongoing debate surrounding this rare material is if it can maintain the demand and needs of the solar industry. Unlike other rare metals, its occurrence on the earth is 0.001 parts per million, making it more rare than gold.