Dye-sensitised solar cells

Dye-sensitised solar cells (DSSC) or Graetzel cells are considered a real alternative to the well-established silicon-based solar cells. Utilising a synthetic dye as the key component they convert sunlight into electricity via a complex electrochemical process. Their working principle is closely related to photosynthesis. Compared to silicon-based colar cells they offer the major advantage of staying functional even under diffuse light. They are transparent and can therefore be used as transluscent, power-generating building blocks.

To enable charge transfer within the solar cells, electrolytes are needed which have to fulfill a number of strict technical requirements, such us good electrochemical and thermal stability. From a very early stage, the development of the dye-sensitised solar cell was linked closely to the use of ionic liquids as the electrolyte, as their favourable properties made them the obvious materials of choice for this purpose. Over the last 15 years a huge number of systems composed of different dyes, electrolytes and additives have been published in the scientific literature, some of them reaching efficiencies of more than 10% in the laboratory. The efficiency of dye-sensitised solar cells is strongly dependent on the interaction of the many different components and materials used and even with functional systems there is still room and need for further optimisation. (In this video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NYhOb9ZB9qY Professor J.-E. Moser (EPFL) explains a new mechanism of electrical conductivity in ionic liquid electrolytes.)

IoLiTec is Europe's leading supplier of ionic liquids for the use in dye-sensitised solar cells. The high purity and reliable quality standard of IoLiTec's products (IoLiLyte® quality) have earned the company its strong reputation and prime position as the preferred partner of many companies and research institutions working in the field. A high level of flexibility enables IoLiTec to react promptly and efficiently to its customers' needs. Functional prototypes of dye-sensitised solar cells incorporating IoLiTec materials have already been built.

In collaboration with a number of top-class partners the commercialisation of the dye-sensitised solar cell in Germany is currently being driven forward by the ColorSol project which is funded by the Bundesministerium für Bildung, Forschung und Wissenschaft (BMBF). IoLiTec is entitled to use the registered trademark ColorSol® and the corresponding logo to promote and market its products and services. It is envisaged to develop the dye-sensitised solar cell into a marketable product within the next two year.

IoLiTec has developed a number of ready-to-use electrolytes for the use in dye-senstitised solar cells which will become commercially available in 2007 under the brand name IoLiLyte®. As part of the research project NEMESIS, which is funded by the Bundesministerium für Bildung, Forschung und Wissenschaft (BMBF) and coordinated by IoLiTec, the industrial production of high-purity ionic liquids is currently being organised. In a second follow-up project the resulting processes and methods will be tuned to be suitable for the large-scale production of solar cell electrolytes. Even today IoLiTec is in the position to provide multikilogram quantities of any selected electrolye for tests in pilot installations.

New concepts for sustainable buildings plan to use energy out of DSSCs, which are integrated into a steel roof. This video (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BJvmPxFE0tQ) will provide more details on this concept.

Further information on products from the dye-sensitised solar cells range can be accessed by clicking on the corresponding link in the menu on the right.

If you have any questions regarding our activities, applications or products in this field please feel free to contact us.