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IIT Hyderabad develops low-cost, eco-friendly solar cells using

"It's cheap, non-toxic and is soluble in water and importantly does not degrade in the presence of water," Raavi said. Dye-sensitised solar cell (DSSC) is a third-generation thin-film organic molecule-based energy conversion device. 

"DSSC takes its inspiration from nature, almost mimicking the primary process of photosynthesis the phenomenon in plants," Raavi explained. DSSC consists of three components: A monolayer of dye molecule adsorbed on semiconductor material, titanium dioxide (TiO2) deposited on transparent conductive oxides, like indium tin oxide (ITO) and a liquid electrolyte with an excess of electrons. 

Sunlight is absorbed by the dye molecule and gets excited. The electrons from the excited dye molecule get injected into the conduction band of TiO2. The best device, he said, showed a photoconversion efficiency of about three per cent which is among the best obtained with DSSC with other natural photosensitisers with a simple molecular structure. 

This technology using NF dye, researchers said, could be used to build integrating photovoltaics. NF is an inexpensive dye available off-shelf in most supermarkets in India, and in its purest form costs USD two per gramme. 

By the choice of cell components during the fabrication, a low-cost eco-friendly DSSC based on NF dye with aqueous electrolyte and platinum-free counter electrodes is achieved, Raavi said. 

"The idea of this work is not to run behind the best efficiency. Sometimes, the cost for achieving the highest efficient device overwhelms the actual motivation behind developing a particular class of solar cell technology- which is to be eco-friendly and inexpensive," he added. 

 

 

Referred from economic times

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Scientists at IIT Hyderabad have developed low-cost, environment-friendly solar cells by employing an off-the-shelf dye used to make kumkum or vermilion in India. 

The dye-sensitised solar cell (DSSC) is based on New Fuchsin (NF) dye with aqueous electrolyte and platinum-free counter electrodes, according to the research published in the Solar Energy journal. 

The most familiar solar cells today are made up of silicon and can be seen in the various overhead panels and other places, noted Professor Sai Santosh Kumar Raavi from Department of Physics, Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Hyderabad. 

However, this technology is limited by huge fabrication costs as silicon processing is very expensive and involves very high temperature methods that leave a large carbon footprint, Raavi, who led the project, told . 

In order to get around the limitations of using silicon, the IIT Hyderabad team started working on solar cells based on organic materials, which were supposedly inexpensive and easy to fabricate. 

However, there were many drawbacks impeding the organic photovoltaic technology as organics (plastic) are less robust. Many dye molecules developed for efficient DSSC devices are very expensive and toxic upon ingestion. 

Also, most DSSC devices tend to get degraded as they come in contact with atmospheric moisture, Raavi said. Since 2010, lot of efforts have been made to use water-soluble natural and synthetic dyes to make water-based solar cells. 

In their latest work, Raavi's team consisting of researchers from Department of Physics and Chemistry (IIT Hyderabad), ARCHEM (University of Hyderabad) NIT Kurukshetra and IFSC-USP, Brazil, employed a very cheap magenta-dye called New Fuchsin, which is used to make kumkum or vermillion when grounded with turmeric. 

"It's cheap, non-toxic and is soluble in water and importantly does not degrade in the presence of water," Raavi said. Dye-sensitised solar cell (DSSC) is a third-generation thin-film organic molecule-based energy conversion device. 

"DSSC takes its inspiration from nature, almost mimicking the primary process of photosynthesis the phenomenon in plants," Raavi explained. DSSC consists of three components: A monolayer of dye molecule adsorbed on semiconductor material, titanium dioxide (TiO2) deposited on transparent conductive oxides, like indium tin oxide (ITO) and a liquid electrolyte with an excess of electrons. 

Sunlight is absorbed by the dye molecule and gets excited. The electrons from the excited dye molecule get injected into the conduction band of TiO2. The best device, he said, showed a photoconversion efficiency of about three per cent which is among the best obtained with DSSC with other natural photosensitisers with a simple molecular structure. 

This technology using NF dye, researchers said, could be used to build integrating photovoltaics. NF is an inexpensive dye available off-shelf in most supermarkets in India, and in its purest form costs USD two per gramme. 

By the choice of cell components during the fabrication, a low-cost eco-friendly DSSC based on NF dye with aqueous electrolyte and platinum-free counter electrodes is achieved, Raavi said. 

"The idea of this work is not to run behind the best efficiency. Sometimes, the cost for achieving the highest efficient device overwhelms the actual motivation behind developing a particular class of solar cell technology- which is to be eco-friendly and inexpensive," he added. 

 

Referred from economic times

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