Nov 182011
A selection of dye-sensitized solar cells

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A solar conversion efficiency ratio of 13.1 percent

A team of Taiwanese and Swiss chemists has developed new dye components that it said can potentially enhance the efficiency of solar cells.

The National Science Council (NSC) said the dye can improve the efficiency of dye-sensitized photovoltaic (PV) cells, Taiwan’s Central News Agency reported.

Such a feat can lead to very cheap solar cells and greatly contribute to the development of the photovoltaic industry, the CNA report quoted the NSC, which funded the research, as saying.

The research team, led by Yeh Chen-yu of National Chung Hsing University, Eric Diau of National Chiao Tung University, and Michael Gratzel, a professor at Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne (EPFL) in Switzerland, said the new invention can be easily commercialized at low cost.

Yeh also said the porphyrin-sensitized solar cells with cobalt-based redox electrolyte can be widely used in consumer electronics gadgets.

Also, he said solar cells with the new combination of chemicals can be used to create flexible, transparent solar panels, in contrast to traditional rigid, silicon-based ones.

In addition, he said this new efficiency benchmark brings them well within the efficiency range of more expensive solar cells.

Porphyrin and cobalt

The team used porphyrin and cobalt to replace ruthenium and iodine as dye components, which increased the absorption of sunlight.

In turn, this resulted in a more efficient electron exchange and a solar conversion efficiency ratio of 13.1 percent, the NSC said.

Previous cell designs had achieved a conversion efficiency of only 10 to 11 percent, it added.

The CNA report said the research results has appeared in the latest issue of the prestigious “Science” magazine.

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