Liquid-to-Solid material gives new environmental solar cells

Dyesol Cells, using Grätzel cell technology
Dyesol Cells, using Grätzel cell technology. © Dyesol

Researchers at Northwestern University have developed a way to make solar cells that are inexpensive, got good operating efficiency, and also lasts longer than traditional dye-sensitized solar cells. Based on Grätzel cells, that use a molecular dye to absorb sunlight and convert it to electricity, it doesn’t rely on toxic or scarce materials during manufacturing making it very environmentally friendly.

The problem with Grätzel cells is that they typically don’t last more than 18 months. Grätzel cells use dye-sensitized cell’s electrolyte, made of an organic liquid and intended to mimic how chlorophyll work in plants. This organic liquid can leak and corrode the solar cell itself, making it’s life expectancy very short. Researchers have been searching for an alternative for two decades, and a team at Northwestern University have now found a possible solution using a liquid, that after applied ends up as a solid, preventing leaks and greatly improving the life of the solar cells.

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