Characterization of dye-sensitized solar cells : Components for environmentally friendly photovoltaics

Abstract: As fossil fuels, the major source of energy used today, create the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide which causes global warming, alternative energy sources are necessary in the future. There is a need for different types of renewable energy sources such as hydropower, windpower, wave- power and photovoltaics since different parts of the world have different possibilities. The sun is a never ending energy source. Photovoltaics use the energy of the sun and converts it into electricity. There are different types of photovoltaics and a combination of them could provide humankind with energy in a sustainable way. In this thesis dye-sensitized solar cells are investigated. Materials for the counter electrode have been investigated and resulting in a polymer based cathode outperforming the traditionally used platinized counter electrode in a cobalt-based redox mediator system (paper I). The sensitizer of the TiO2 was investigated, in this study by modifications of the π-linker unit in an organic donor-linker-acceptor based dye. Four new dyes were synthesized, all four showing extended absorption spectra compared to the reference dye. However, it was found that increasing the absorption spectrum does not neces- sarily increase the power conversion efficiency of the solar cell (paper II). In the last part of this thesis, water-based electrolyte dye-sensitized solar cells were investigated. A hydrophilic dye with glycolic chains close to the center of regeneration was synthesized. The results show increased wettability by water-based electrolyte for the sensitized surface, increased regenera- tion and performance for the hydrophilic dye compared to a hydrophobic dye (paper III). The glycolic chains complex with small cations such as Na+ and K+ in the electrolyte, this proba- bly facilitate the regeneration of the hydrophilic dye even further (paper IV). In this thesis new materials for a more environmentally friendly dye-sensitized solar cell are investigated.