Dye-sensitised solar cells (DSSC) or Grätzel cells named after the Swiss chemist Michael Grätzel who was greatly involved in the development of new cell types.
Manufacturing of DSCs is simple, mostly low cost, and incorporate environmentally friendly materials. They have a good efficiency (about 10-14 %) even under low flux of sunlight.
However, a major drawback is the temperature sensitivity of the liquid electrolyte. Hence a lot of research is going on to improve the electrolyte’s performance and cell stability.
A novel process to improve the performance of DSSC has been developed by researchers at the Indian Institute of Technology, Hyderabad. This process promises to enhance the efficiency.
In the study, the researchers initially tried introducing holmium oxide, a powerful paramagnetic material, into the anode of the cell and by applying external magnetic fields.
The experiment showed an enhancement in efficiency. However, application of external magnetic field can be power-consuming because electromagnets themselves require energy for their functioning.
The team consequently replaced holmium oxide with iron oxide magnetic nano-particles since it produced a magnetic field internally. The result was as good.
These third generation, dye-sensitised solar cells can significantly lower costs of solar cells while being environment-friendly. But more work needs to be done to enhance their efficiency so as to translate them in to practical products.
This is a ‘India Science Wire’ story; edited by Clean-Future Team