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Participation at Hannover Trade Fair 2006: http://www.ise.fraunhofer.de/english/press/pi_2006/presseversand/farbstoffsolarzellen.html
|Dr. Andreas Hinsch is currently project leader in dye solar cells at the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE in Germany. His recent projects include dye solar modules with glass frit sealing Unlike conventional solar cells, in dye solar cells an organic dye converts light into electricity. Dye solar cells are manufactured using simple screen printing, which offers a wide variety of design possibilities.
With a new glass frit technology, Hinsch and his team have cleared the final hurdle towards the practical testing of the modules: simple manufacturing and stability. All of the materials for the cell construction were printed as paste on two glass plates by means of screen printing. The two plates were connected to each other in such a way that meandering or striped canals are formed. These canals are then filled with the dye and a gellable electrolyte, and the solar cell is completed.
The design possibilities for these modules are as fascinating as their technology. The modules are of transparent amber color. With a filter this color can be varied. The use of colored pastes highlights the pattern or gives the surface a homogenous appearance. By printing with scattering coatings, images and text can be created within the module without a mentionable loss in power. “Totally new possibilities open up for designing facades and advertising purposes,” says Hinsch.
For 15 years now, research has been carried out on the dye solar cell which converts light into electric energy. The core of the cell is comprised of an organic dye as well as titanium oxide. As a mass produced product, titanium oxide is used for making wall paint white. In the dye solar cell technology, it is used as a high-tech nanocrystalline paste.
The big problem up to now: The dye solar cell needs a small amount of liquid electrolyte. How can the tightness of the cells be guaranteed? With screen-printed glass frit, the Fraunhofer researchers have made a decisive step forward. The glass plates are hermetically sealed to the outside environment and thereby protect the sensitive material inside against degradation. Accelerated aging tests carried out over many thousands of hours under the most varied conditions show the good long-term stability of the cells.
The work is carried out within the framework of projects financially sponsored by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research, the European Union and the State of North Rhine-Westphalia.