New dye will lead to more efficient solar energy technology

Dec 13, 2011
NCSU-10 can be used to create more effective solar cells.

(PhysOrg.com) -- A North Carolina State University invention has significant potential to improve the efficiency of solar cells and other technologies that derive energy from light.

Dr. Ahmed El-Shafei’s research group invented a new “sensitizer,” or dye, that harvests more ambient and solar light than any dyes currently on the market for use in dye-sensitized solar cells (DSSCs).

“A third-party solar energy company compared our new dye, NCSU-10, against the state-of-the-art dye on the market. Our dye had 14 percent more power density,” says El-Shafei, an assistant professor in the Textile Engineering, Chemistry and Science department. “In other words, NCSU-10 allows us to harvest more energy from the same amount of light.”

The new dye should significantly boost the of DSSCs, which have a host of applications. Indoors, these DSSCs can be used in technology to power cellular phones, laptop computers and MP3 players using ambient light. Outdoors, they could be used in conventional solar arrays or in improved energy-driven applications for building-integrated photovoltaic products including, but not limited to, windows, facades and skylights.

Compared to the state-of-the-art dye on the market, NCSU-10 can absorb more photons at lower dye concentrations, and can therefore be used to create more effective on windows and facades while still allowing the windows to be highly transparent.

DSSCs are made of inexpensive and environmentally benign materials including a dye, an electrolyte and titanium dioxide (TiO2) – the white component used in toothpaste. DSSCs work by absorbing photons, or discrete packets of light , from incident light (or direct light that falls on a surface) to create free electrons in nanoporous semiconductors such as TiO2, in the cell. These electrons travel to the outside circuit to generate an electric current. Owing to their independence on the angle of incident light and high response to low level of lighting conditions, DSSCs outperform conventional silicon photovoltaic by 20 to 40 percent under diffuse light, on cloudy and/or rainy days, and in indoor ambient , which make DSSCs a unique class of photovoltaics.

A patent is pending on the new , and the university is in communication with potential industry partners about licensing use of NCSU-10, as well as funding additional research in this area.

Explore further: Dye-sensitized solar cell absorbs a broad range of visible and infrared wavelengths

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User comments : 10

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antialias_physorg
5 / 5 (3) Dec 13, 2011
Compared to the state-of-the-art dye on the market, NCSU-10 can absorb more photons at lower dye concentrations, and can therefore be used to create more effective solar cells on windows and facades while still allowing the windows to be highly transparent.

There's one thing missing here: Is it as stable as the state of the art dyes (i.e how much does it degrade due to dissociation reactions triggered by UV radiation)?

Eikka
3.3 / 5 (3) Dec 13, 2011

There's one thing missing here: Is it as stable as the state of the art dyes (i.e how much does it degrade due to dissociation reactions triggered by UV radiation)?


And after that, "Does it turn my windows pink?"
CapitalismPrevails
1.5 / 5 (2) Dec 13, 2011
Antialias,

Exactly what i was thinking
that_guy
not rated yet Dec 13, 2011

There's one thing missing here: Is it as stable as the state of the art dyes (i.e how much does it degrade due to dissociation reactions triggered by UV radiation)?


And after that, "Does it turn my windows pink?"

You could always mount your panels on your roof.

However - Your computer and mp3 player and phone are a different question. You can choose any color you want, as long as it's reddish pink.

You know, kind of like how you used to get any color of iphone, as long as it was black. (Now we have 2 colors to choose from!)
Deesky
5 / 5 (1) Dec 13, 2011
You know, kind of like how you used to get any color of iphone, as long as it was black. (Now we have 2 colors to choose from!)

Yeah, but neither of them are chromatic.
Osiris1
not rated yet Dec 14, 2011
I gonna mount a dozen collectors, photovoltaics on the roof of my bus. Never gonna pay another electric bill. Have all the power I need where ever I go. If need a lot, use my diesel generator thru my 12000 watt inverter to keep batteries charged.. Rolling power station even good for national forests..fire safe.
rawa1
not rated yet Dec 16, 2011
Just another propaganda of solar technology lobby. All organic dyes, these photoactive ones in particular don't survive few weeks on the direct sunlight, especially at the presence of water. It's just a fairy tale for fooling of investors.
rawa1
not rated yet Dec 16, 2011
BTW The very similar system based on titanium dioxide nanoparticles has been proposed for self-cleaning of fabric from organic dirt. It's evident, the same mechanism will clean the solar cells from organic dyes too.

http://www.physor...ght.html
rawa1
not rated yet Dec 16, 2011
SSCs outperform conventional silicon photovoltaic by 20 to 40 percent under diffuse light
Best research cells efficiencies http://upload.wik...5%29.jpg Dye cells have the lowest efficiency from all systems and they need the water solution.
chip_engineer
not rated yet Dec 16, 2011
Just running a hypothetical 4.5kW continuous roof install for my Shoreham pad, the calculator on find solar tells me I need 32kW of panels for $220k, pretty steep at $49/W.

If I upscale that 1000 times the cost would be $220M. I wonder how the BP plant next door got 32MW for $298M, maybe it isn't actually 32MW since it only covers 4500 homes, maybe its only 4.5MW.

I just love the integrity of this business. No amount of efficiency improvements is gonna make much difference.