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Fraunhofer ISE unveils large-scale dye solar cell

Solar energy researchers have produced what could be the world’s largest dye solar cell on a continuous substrate material.

By Isabella Kaminski

The Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems (Fraunhofer ISE) has succeeded in manufacturing prototypes of large-scale dye solar cells on glass.

Dr Andreas Hinsch of Fraunhofer ISE says: “For the first time, we were able to show that an integrated series connection of cells is possible on a module area of 60 x 100 cm² using screen printing technology. This avoids a complex external connection of the submodules. With this prototype, we have achieved a decisive step towards cost-effective up-scaling and paved the way for the transfer to the industrial level.”

Dye solar cells are photoelectrochemical solar cells based on a nanocrystalline carrier layer made of titanium dioxide TiO2 whose surface is chemically bonded with dye molecules. A small amount of gel electrolyte is used for the transport of the carriers.

The manufacture of the 60 x 100 cm² solar modules was carried out using industry-relevant procedures and machines, but researchers had to carry out specialised in-house development to be able to apply the dye and electrolyte.

In cooperation with the Fraunhofer IAO in Stuttgart, Fraunhofer ISE developed a station for automatically filling and sealing the large area dye solar cell modules.

The institute’s ongoing work on dye solar cell modules is part of a joint project sponsored by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), the European Commission and the Ministry of the Environment, Baden-Württemberg.

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Photovoltaics (PV)