Discipline: Technology and Engineering
Subcategory: Materials Science
Joshua Orebiyi - University of Maryland Eastern Shore
In today’s modern society, energy has become an imperative part of daily life. It is incorporated in every aspect of our lives. So as the population of the world increases, so does the demand for energy. In the next 30 years’ worldwide power consumption is expected to double. Mainstream power sources such as fossil fuels and nuclear power have proven to produce substantial amounts of energy but at a cost. Not only has fossil fuels largely contributed to pollution in our atmosphere but it is also a limited resource. With an increase in demand in energy in the soon upcoming years the option of renewable energy sources has begun to break way, and the most feasible choice of them is solar energy. Dye sensitized solar cells are a type of thin film solar cell used to convert sunlight into electrical energy through means different than conventional solar cells. Dye sensitized solar cells are made from materials that are both biocompatible and biodegradable. We use anthocyanin which are dyes found in common berries like blueberries, blackberries, and strawberries and harness their light absorption capabilities to create solar cells. The purpose of these solar cells is to eliminate the use of conventional, silicone, solar cells by creating solar cells that are environmentally friendly and that can product a higher efficiency rate of converting sunlight into electrical energy. In this work, a large number of variations on DSSC fabrication parameters were explored. Our main goal was to produce cells and compare photoelectric conversion efficiency (PCE) and try to maximize the percentage of solar energy that is converted into electrical energy. The results show that impact of plasma etching was shown positive in the case of pure ZnO with a efficiency of .02%, but detrimental in the case of composited ZnO and TiO2 semiconductor. The impact of semiconductor thickness was also explored by scaffolding experiments. It was shown that efficiency was optimized at four scaffolds; with 2 scaffold yielding .02%, 3 scaffold yielding .017%, 4 scaffold yielding .05%. Further results from scaffolding show a decreased dramatically at eight scaffolds yielding . It was shown that TiO2 composited with ZnO of different morphologies resulted in mixed efficiency, with ZnO nanowires outperforming ZnO nanoparticles. Finally, it was shown that blueberry dyes (.461%) resulted in a much higher PCE than did blackberry-based dye (.22%). Our experiment have shown great results but further research will be done to continue the improvement of the PCE of the DSSC and explore other combinations of anthocyanin and semiconductor materials that might prove to increase our already promising results. Our Research is funded by the Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation(LAMSP).
Funder Acknowledgement(s): Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Particiption
Faculty Advisor: Kausiksankar Das, firstname.lastname@example.org
Role: I was creating the cell and measuring the efficiencies of the cells I created.