Unlike conventional silicon-based solar cells, dye-sensitized solar cells consist primarily of photosensitive dye and other substances. A dye-sensitized solar cell is a low-cost solar cell. It is based on a semiconductor formed between a photo-sensitized anode and an electrolyte, a photoelectrochemical system.
Shutterstock A major roadblock to the mass use of solar energy are photovoltaic PV solar cells. This is because the cost, inefficiency and negative environmental impact that the manufacturing of these cells outweighs any potential savings provided by the resulting solar energy.
If, however, cost could be were minimised, then solar power would be more able to compete with traditional fossil fuel-based methods for generating energy.
Going dry PV cells are typically created via a wet chemical process that etches away layers of silicon from a crystalline wafer, leaving behind the solar cell. The SOLNOWAT process replaces the expensive and inefficient wet chemical process with the use of atmospheric pressure dry etching technology — a process that cuts costs and speeds up production.
Because less silicon is removed during dry etching, the resulting cells are darker, making them very efficient at absorbing light. In fact, they are so efficient that they have been classified as having zero global warming potential.
At the core of the project's success was the development of a dry etching process that uses etching chemistries that do not generate greenhouse gases, which contribute to global warming.
The process uses a thermally activated etching gas Fluorine inside a chemical etching reactor, eliminating any need for plasma or vacuum. The reactor is single sided, meaning the etching is applied to only one side of the wafer and allows for its darker surface.
Savings at this scale are particularly important as the European industry continues to face stiff competition from Chinese manufacturers, who have been able to flood the market with low cost cells. Thanks in part to the cost-savings offered by the SOLNOWAT process, project researchers are confident that the European market will soon see an upturn — especially as more and more products and services become solar powered.
For example, Elon Musk's SolarCity recently unveiled a roof completely comprised of solar panels in the form of solar cells and tiles. Nines PV, the company that came out of the project after it ended inhas since been busy ensuring that the SOLNOWAT dry etching process is positioned to take full advantage of this market opportunity with several leading industry players showing an interest.Cheaper solar cells.
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Dye-Sensitized Solar Cells Market Overview. The global dye-sensitized solar cells market was valued at $28, thousand in and is projected to reach $60, thousand by , witnessing a CAGR of % during the forecast period.