Wednesday, 22 August 2012

In a breakthrough research that could help in making solar energy affordable, scientists at the Indian Institute of Chemical Technology (IICT) achieve photovoltaic efficiency of 11.4 per cent using dye-sensitised solar cells (DSSC)

By Syed Akbar
Hyderabad:  In a breakthrough research that could help in making
solar energy affordable, scientists at the city-based Indian Institute
of Chemical Technology (IICT) have achieved photovoltaic efficiency of
11.4 per cent using dye-sensitised solar cells (DSSC).

Dye-sensitized solar cells are low-cost and easy-to-make solar panels
that can be painted on window glasses of offices and homes to generate
power. The windowpanes painted with DSSC absorb solar radiation to
produce energy that could be used to light up rooms. The problem with
the technology, however, has been its less photovoltaic efficiency.
This has now been overcome by the IICT team. Photovoltaic efficiency
is the amount of energy produced by absorbing the sunlight.

The research was led by Dr Malapaka Chandrasekharam, a senior
scientist at IICT. Working with fellow researchers from Japan, he
developed a novel donor-acceptor type co-adsorbent that increased the
photovoltaic efficiency of DSSC to 11.4 per cent. This is the highest
certified efficiency achieved so far, breaking the record set five
years ago.

Dye-sensitised solar cells are superior over the first generation
silicon solar cells, which are very expensive and require longer pay
back time. DSSC technology is emerging as a promising alternative.
They can be operated even under diffused light conditions.

The present research world over, is focused on developing new
materials for DSSC technology, which have higher efficiency and long
durable properties. IICT scientists are involved in several solar
energy related projects and have collaborations with countries in the
European Union, the UK and Japan.

The Royal Society of Chemistry in its journal ‘Energy & Environmental
Science’ recently published the results of these findings. The
co-adsorbent developed by Dr Chandrasekharam and team has effectively
inhibited the competitive light absorption, prevented dye aggregation,
and reduced the charge recombination.

According to an official press release from IICT, its scientists plan
to develop new co-adsorbents with structural modifications to further
increase the efficiency of DSSC and bring it on par with the existing
silicon-based solar cells.

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