applications > solar energy

Since the oil crisis of the 1970's there has been a concerted effort to replace our dependence on electricity from fossil fuel power plants to solar power generation. Today, the market for photovoltaic devices has grown to $5 billion and is growing at 35% annually. Furthermore, one-third of the world-population has no access to a power grid and could greatly benefit from local energy production harnessing the sun's power, which in one hour delivers enough energy to the earth to power all the world's energy needs for one year.

The movement to replace the traditional sources of energy for the power grid with non-polluting renewable energy has only just begun. Today, solar energy installations account for less than 0.01% of total global primary energy demand. The major reason for this small penetration is cost.

Various colors in a series-connected dye solar cell modules, courtesy of Dr. Winfried Hofmann, RWE-Schott.

Dye-sensitized electrochemical photovoltaic cells, also known as Graetzel Cells, offer significantly lower manufacturing costs because of their simplicity and use of low-cost active materials such as TiO2.

Solaris Nanosciences has demonstrated a completely rechargeable dye sensitized solar cell (DSSC or Graetzel Cell) creating the lowest manufacturing cost, long-life photovoltaic system in the world. DSSCs which are based on low cost materials and simple construction, have to date suffered from limited operating lifetimes due to the degradation of the sensitizer dyes. Solaris’ nontoxic chemical process allows the degraded dye in already installed DSSCs to be removed and replaced with new dye, restoring the performance of the original solar cell. The two movie clips show the actual process of dye removal and re-dying on a DSSC cell.

Our materials can boost the absorption of sensitizing dyes by several orders of magnitude; potentially making Graetzel cells more efficient than silicon at drastically reduced manufacturing costs.

Movie Clip:

Dye Stripping

Movie Clip:

Cell Dying