Record-breaking transparent solar panels pave the way for electricity-generating windows

Scientists have achieved a new efficiency record for dye-sensitized solar cells (DSC), opening up new commercial possibilities for transparent solar panels.

A team from the Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne in Switzerland has made the breakthrough using specially designed photosensitizing dye molecules which, when combined, are able to harvest light from the entire visible light spectrum.

The transparent properties of DSCs make them suitable for use in windows, greenhouses and glass facades, the researchers said, as well as in the displays of portable electronic devices.

They are also flexible, relatively inexpensive and can be made using conventional roll printing techniques. Theoretically, the price/performance ratio is also good enough to allow them to compete with electricity generation from fossil fuels.

The first commercial applications are already underway, with solar dye windows installed in the SwissTech Convention Center, but their power generation capacity has so far been limited by their inefficiency compared to solar cells. traditional.

The latest development pushes power conversion efficiency between 28.4 and 30.2%, while maintaining long-term operational stability over 500 hours of testing.

“Our findings pave the way for easy access to high-performance DSCs and offer promising prospects for applications as power supplies and battery replacement for low-power electronic devices that use ambient light as a power source,” the authors wrote. authors of a study detailing the technology. .

The study, titled “Preadsorption of hydroxamic acid increases the efficiency of cosensitized solar cells,” was published in the scientific journal Nature Wednesday.

About Sally E. Bartley

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