DSSC: Dye Sensitized Solar Cells
Dye Sensitized solar cells (DSSC), is a low-cost thin film type of solar cell that converts any visible light into electrical energy. This cell has a working principle that is closely likened to artificial photosynthesis due to the way in which it absorbs light energy. As a disruptive technology this cell is capable of producing electricity in all kinds of light conditions that is present indoors and outdoors. To conclude, it can convert both artificial and natural light into electricity.
How does DSSC work?
The mechanism of dye solar cells is based on the photo electrochemical processes. Figure 1 depicts a diagram of a dye solar cell. The following steps explain the working principle of a dye solar cell.
- DSSC has a dye as the photoactive material that can produce electricity when sensitized by light
- The dye’s function is similar to that of chlorophyll in plants. The dye absorbs photons of incoming light and uses light energy to excite electrons
- The excited electron is injected into the Titanium Dioxide
- The electron is conducted away by Nano crystalline titanium dioxide (crystallized form of the titanium dioxide).
- A closed circuit is created with the help of a chemical electrolyte in the cell that returns the electrons back to the dye
- Movement of electrons creates electricity.
DSSC advantages include:
- Operates in cloudy weather and non direct light
This cell can operate in wide range of lighting conditions from bright light to shaded and diffuse light locations, which is a big plus point of this cell.
- Optimized performance
The dyes in the cell can be optimized for a range of lighting conditions making it suitable for indoor applications and outdoor applications.
- Can perform good in higher temperatures
Increased temperatures do not hamper the performance of the cell; energy can be harvested in direct sunlight as well.
- Low energy manufacturing process
Manufacturing of the cell is not an energy intensive process
- Ecologically friendly solar
This cell uses cheap eco-friendly nano-materials
The cell’s indoor modules are highly flexible, durable and lightweight. They can be incorporated into a wide variety of products.
Efficiency of dye cell
They have a good efficiency (about 10-14 %) even under low flux of sunlight.
Disadvantages of Dye cell
DSCs disadvantage stems form the fact that the liquid electrolyte used in DSCs is sensitive to very high and very low temperatures. At low temperatures, the electrolyte can freeze, and at high temperatures, the liquid electrolyte expands making the solar cell unusable. Liquid electrolyte also causes problems such as potential instability, limitation of maximum operation temperature, danger of evaporation, and extra cost for forming an electrical series connection.