Navigation Links
Cobalt replacements make solar cells more sustainable
Date:8/2/2013

Researchers at the University of Basel have successfully replaced the rare element iodine in copper-based dye-sensitized solar cells by the more abundant element cobalt, taking a step forward in the development of environmentally friendly energy production. The journal Chemical Communications has published the results of these so-called Cu-Co cells.

Dye-sensitized solar cells (DSCs) transform light to electricity. They consist of a semiconductor on which a dye is anchored. This colored complex absorbs light and through an electron transfer process produces electrical current. Electrolytes act as electron transport agents inside the DSCs.

Usually, iodine and iodide serve as an electrolyte. Chemists at the University of Basel have now been able to successfully replace the usual iodine-based electron transport system in copper-based DSCs by a cobalt compound. Tests showed no loss in performance.

The replacement of iodine significantly increases the sustainability of solar cells: Iodine is a rare element, only present at a level of 450 parts per billion in the Earth, whereas cobalt is 50 times more abundant, explains the Project Officer Dr. Biljana Bozic-Weber. Furthermore, this replacement also removes one of the long-term degradation processes in which copper compounds react with the electrolyte to form copper iodide and thus improves the long-term stability of DSCs.

The research group around the Basel chemistry professors Ed Constable and Catherine Housecroft is currently working on optimizing the performance of DSCs based on copper complexes. They had previously shown in 2012 that the very rare element ruthenium in solar cells could be replaced by copper derivatives.

This is the first report of DSCs, which combine copper-based dyes and cobalt electrolytes and thus represents a critical step towards the development of stable iodide-free copper solar cells. However, many aspects relating to the efficiency need to be addressed before commercialization can begin in anything other than niche markets.

Molecular Systems Engineering

In changing any one component of these solar cells, it is necessary to optimize all other parts as a consequence, says Ed Constable. This is part of a new approach termed Molecular Systems Engineering in which all molecular and material components of a system can be integrated and optimized to approach new levels of sophistication in nanoscale machinery. In this publication, the engineering of the electrolyte, the dye and the semiconductor are all described.

This systems chemistry approach is particularly appropriate for the engineering of inorganic-biological hybrids and is the basis of ongoing collaborations with the ETH Department of Biosystems Engineering in Basel (D-BSSE) and EMPA. A joint proposal by the University of Basel and D-BSSE for a new National Centre of Competence in Research in this area is currently in the final stages of appraisal.


'/>"/>

Contact: Reto Caluori
reto.caluori@unibas.ch
41-612-672-495
University of Basel
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Champion nano-rust for producing solar hydrogen
2. Organic electronics: Imaging defects in solar cells
3. Solar-powered nanofilters pump in antibiotics to clean contaminated water
4. NREL launches initiative to build solar performance database
5. NREL assembles industry working group to advance solar securitization
6. Searching for the solar systems chemical recipe
7. Solar power: Is it time for the big push?
8. Black silicon can take efficiency of solar cells to new levels
9. NJIT and Chinese Tech Institute join forces for 2013 Solar Decathlon in China
10. Using snail teeth to improve solar cells and batteries
11. NREL updates solar radiation database
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:2/3/2016)... , Feb. 3, 2016 Vigilant Solutions announces ... Department in Missouri solved two ... reader (LPR) data from Vigilant Solutions. Brian ... in which the victim was walking out of a convenience store and witnessed ... next to his vehicle, striking his vehicle and leaving ...
(Date:2/2/2016)... Technology Enhancements Accelerate Growth of X-ray Imaging ... and computed radiography markets in Thailand ... Indonesia (TIM). It provides an in-depth analysis ... as regional market drivers and restraints. The study offers ... market attractiveness, both for digital and computed radiography. Market ...
(Date:2/1/2016)... 1, 2016  Wocket® smart wallet ( www.wocketwallet.com ) announces the launch ... Joey Fatone . Las Vegas , where Joey ... --> Las Vegas , where Joey appeared at the ... new video ad was filmed at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES2016) in ... booth to meet and greet fans. --> ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:2/10/2016)... ... February 10, 2016 , ... Benchmark Research, a fully-integrated network ... two long-standing principal investigators (PI) to the roles of Chief Medical Officer, Clinical ... Dr. Laurence Chu, a Benchmark Research PI in the Austin office, will assume ...
(Date:2/10/2016)... ... February 10, 2016 , ... ... their comprehensive training and support program, Sonalink™ remote monitoring. The inaugural launch of ... on Friday, February 5th, connecting Dr. Samuel Peretsman to a HIFU technical expert ...
(Date:2/10/2016)... ... February 10, 2016 , ... Global Stem Cells Group, ... Singapore-based Global Stem Cells Network (GSCN) and its affiliate Global Medical Training ... latest adipose and bone marrow therapies. , Through the new collaboration, Global ...
(Date:2/9/2016)... ... 2016 , ... With a presidential election in November and the future of ... together over 500 top healthcare leaders for a night and day of debates and ... MBA students of the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School, will be held February 18 ...
Breaking Biology Technology: