Development of TiO2-based dye-sensitized solar cells using natural dyes extracted from some plant-based materials
M. Djibrilla Alio Sanda, Mercy Badu, Johannes A. M. Awudza and Nathaniel O. Boadi
The need for a green and more environmentally friendly energy production has led to recent research into the use of natural products in the production photovoltaic cells. In this study, TiO2-based dye-sensitized solar cells (DSSCs) were fabricated using photo-sensitizers made from ten natural dyes extracted from different plant parts (i.e. seeds, stalks, peels and flowers) of some selected plants and using candle soot carbon as a counter electrode. The chemical composition of the materials was determined using basic phytochemical screening assays. The extracted dye materials were characterized using UV and IR methods after which they were used in developing DSSCs. The DSSCs were then characterized under AM 1.5 lluminations to measure their photoelectrochemical properties. The dyes containing carboxyl and hydroxyl functional groups showed weak to large absorption under the visible light (400-700 nm) irradiation. The photo-electrochemical erformance of the various cells gave an efficiency of as high as 0.18% with open circuit voltages ranging from 0.28 to 0.45 V and short-circuits photocurrent densities from 0.26 to 1.69 mA.cm-1. Better efficiencies can be attained by improving the DSSC constructional parameters.