More Environmental Friendly Solar Cells Developed at Uni Basel
Researchers at the University of Basel have developed dye-sensitized solar cells (DSSCs) using a method by which iodine is replaced with more abundant and less expensive cobalt. “Iodine is a rare element, only present at a level of 450 parts per billion in the Earth, whereas cobalt is 50 times more abundant,” explained the Project Officer Biljana Bozic-Weber in a press release. In addition, to making the manufacturing less expensive, the cobalt lengthens the lifetime of DSSCs.
The current results are still not evolved enough for the commercial use. The main goal of improving the poor energy conversion efficiency of DSSCs could be improved and therefore manifesting a step forward towards more environmental friendly energy production. Further improvement will be accomplished through an approach called “Molecular Systems Engineering” in which all the molecular and material components will be integrated and optimized to approach new levels of efficiency.
DSSC technology is known for photovoltaic cells that are relatively inexpensive compared to the silicon cells. The down sides are that it cannot produce the same level of energy conversion efficiency as silicon solar cells. It is therefore applied in other niches than the silicon based technologies. This is the first report of DSSCs, which combine copper-based dyes and cobalt electrolytes, representing a critical step towards the development of stable iodide-free copper solar cells.
The reference article was published in the journal Chemical Communications.