As mentioned in the February 2009 issue of the BioInspired! Newsletter, dye-senstized solar cells often involve compounds involving rare metals such as ruthenium as well as electrolytes containing volatile organic solvents. Researchers at the Chinese Academy of Sciences led by professor Peng Wang have developed a metal-free organic dye that has achieved 9.8 percent efficiency of converting light to electricity, close to the 10 percent value required to be competitive with conventional cells.
Wang's team has also developed a new 'ionic liquid' electrolyte that is more stable and can also be used with plastics, enabling flexible solar cells. Efficiency dropped to 8.1 percent, a value which is expected to improve.
References (subscription required):
- High efficiency and stable dye-sensitized solar cells with an organic chromophore featuring a binary-conjugated spacer (Chemical Communications)
- New Organic Sensitizer for Stable Dye-Sensitized Solar Cells with Solvent-Free Ionic Liquid Electrolytes (Journal of Physical Chemistry)
- Dye-Sensitized Solar Cells with Solvent-Free Ionic Liquid Electrolytes (Journal of Physical Chemistry)