Synthesizing the 3D honeycomb graphene is neither expensive nor difficult
One of the most promising types of solar cells has a few drawbacks. A scientist at Michigan Technological University may have overcome one of them.
Dye-sensitized solar cells are thin, flexible, easy to make and very good at turning sunshine into electricity. However, a key ingredient is one of the most expensive metals on the planet: platinum. While only small amounts are needed, at $1,500 an ounce, the cost of the silvery metal is still significant.
Yun Hang Hu, the Charles and Carroll McArthur Professor of Materials Science and Engineering, has developed a new, inexpensive material that could replace the platinum in solar cells without degrading their efficiency: 3D graphene.
Regular graphene is a famously two-dimensional form of carbon just a molecule or so thick. Hu and his team invented a novel approach to synthesize a unique 3D version with a honeycomb-like structure. To do so, they combined lithium oxide with carbon monoxide in a chemical reaction that forms lithium carbonate (Li2CO3) and the honeycomb graphene. The Li2CO3 helps shape the graphene sheets and isolates them from each other, preventing the formation of garden-variety graphite. Furthermore, the Li2CO3 particles can be easily removed from 3D honeycomb-structured graphene by an acid.
The researchers determined that the 3D honeycomb graphene had excellent conductivity and high catalytic activity, raising the possibility that it could be used for energy storage and conversion. So they replaced the platinum counter electrode in a dye-sensitized solar cell with one made of the 3D honeycomb graphene. Then they put the solar cell in the sunshine and measured its output.
The cell with the 3D graphene counter electrode converted 7.8 percent of the sun’s energy into electricity, nearly as much as the conventional solar cell using costly platinum (8 percent).
Synthesizing the 3D honeycomb graphene is neither expensive nor difficult, said Hu, and making it into a counter electrode posed no special challenges.
The Latest on: 3D Graphene
Producing Graphene With 50 Times Less Solvent
on April 18, 2018 at 2:36 pm
The resulting graphene slurry can be easily separated into monolayers when required or stored away for months. The slurry can also be used directly to 3D-print conductive graphene aerogels, an ultra-lightweight sponge-like material that can be used to ... […]
China develops 3D conic device to increase solar-thermal conversion
on April 15, 2018 at 11:46 pm
BEIJING: Chinese scientists have developed a new device of 3D hollow-cone structure that can greatly increase ... The cone structure, based on a graphene film, can collect more sunlight throughout the day when compared with a flat device, as about 10 ... […]
Chinese scientists develop 3D conic device to increase solar-thermal conversion
on April 15, 2018 at 7:02 am
BEIJING, April 15 (Xinhua) -- Chinese scientists have developed a new device of 3D hollow-cone structure that can greatly ... The cone structure, based on graphene oxide film, can collect more sunlight throughout the day compared with a flat device ... […]
A Clean Route to High-quality Graphene Production
on April 10, 2018 at 10:29 am
A new exfoliation strategy for preparing high quality graphene and its composite addresses the challenge of an 3D printing of graphene slurry at 10 wt%. Source: National University of Singaporeefficient process for large-scale production of graphene ... […]
There’s a new, cheaper way to make graphene
on April 9, 2018 at 7:32 pm
Researchers can easily separate the resulting graphene slurry into monolayers when necessary or store it away for months. They can also use the slurry to 3D-print conductive graphene aerogels, an ultra-lightweight sponge-like material that can remove oil s ... […]
Wrapping Polymer Powder with Aros Graphene: A Leap Towards High-quality Graphene Composites
on April 9, 2018 at 2:39 am
Says Zargham Jabri, R&D engineer at Graphmatech. Applications of polymer-Aros Graphene® composites are many such as multifunctional filaments for 3D printing, or engineering composites with light weight, high thermal conductivity, high mechanical strength ... […]
Cleaning up graphene production
on April 8, 2018 at 11:08 pm
... can then be easily separated into single layers or used as a stock solution of graphene that can be stored for months until required. It can also be used to 3D print conductive polymer materials or graphene aerogels, which hold great potential for ... […]
Cost effective technique for mass production of high-quality graphene
on April 8, 2018 at 4:13 pm
The resulting graphene slurry be easily separated into monolayers when required or stored away for months. The slurry can also be used directly to 3D-print conductive graphene aerogels, an ultra-lightweight sponge-like material that can be used to remove ... […]
Researchers uncover way to more efficiently produce high-tech graphene material
on April 6, 2018 at 8:31 am
The resulting graphene slurry can then be separated into monolayers when required or stored. It is further claimed that the slurry can be used to directly 3D-print conductive graphene aerogel, an ultra-lightweight sponge-like material that can be used to ... […]
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