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Development of novel coatings for dye-sensitized solar cell applications. / ,
Swansea University Author: ,
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This research work was undertaken to solve an industrial problem related to roll-to- roll production of dye-sensitised solar cells (DSCs). It is possible to manufacture DSCs in a roll-to-roll production line on a sheet metal such as titanium. However, DSCs produced in such a way are not commercially...
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This research work was undertaken to solve an industrial problem related to roll-to- roll production of dye-sensitised solar cells (DSCs). It is possible to manufacture DSCs in a roll-to-roll production line on a sheet metal such as titanium. However, DSCs produced in such a way are not commercially viable due to the use of expensive titanium metal. Therefore, the intention behind this work was to utilize a cheap sheet metal such as ECCS (electro chrome coated steel) to manufacture DSCs in a roll-to-roll production facility of TATA steel Europe, as this project was funded by them. Unfortunately, ECCS corrodes in the I[-]/I[3-] redox electrolyte present in a DSC therefore, to protect ECCS from the corrosion whilst using it as a DSC substrate was the real challenging task in this research. In order to solve this problem high temperature resistant polyimide based coatings were developed which can be used to coat ECCS substrates whilst maintaining excellent dimensional stability at the DSC processing temperatures. Such coatings were electrically conducting which helped preserve the electrical conductivity of the underlying metallic substrate. Electrically conductive polyimides were developed by simply blending conductive fillers such as carbon materials and titanium nitride. It was initially thought that carbon/polyimide based coatings would be suitable for this application. However, severe interfacial charge recombination and poor reflectivity made carbon/PI coatings inferior compared to the TiN/PI coatings. TiN/PI coatings performed well but poor reflectivity produced low current outputs. Moreover, TiN/PI was found to reduce the catalytic activity of thermally deposited platinum therefore it was not useful as a counter electrode material. As a solution to these problems, TiN and carbon materials based hybrid coatings were developed. Hybrid coatings did perform efficiently in terms of overall PV performance but due to poor reflectivity, such coatings also produced low J[sc] values. However, counter electrodes prepared using hybrid coating demonstrated excellent PV performance with thermally deposited platinum. Furthermore, TCO (transparent conducting oxide) free glass substrates can also be used to manufacture low-cost PV devices when coated with these conductive coatings.
Industrial engineering.;Mechanical engineering.
College of Engineering