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Efficient and Robust Dye Sensitzed Solar Cells and Modules

Final Report Summary - ROBUST DSC (Efficient and Robust Dye Sensitzed Solar Cells and Modules)

Executive Summary:

The main aim of the ROBUST DSC project was to develop materials and manufacturing procedures for Dye
Sensitized Solar Cells (DSC) with long lifetime and increased cell efficiencies (14 % target) and module efficiencies (7% target) with the intention to accelerate the exploitation of the DSC technology in the energy supply market.
The approach focused on the development of large area, robust, efficient DSC modules using scalable, reproducible and commercially viable fabrication procedures. In parallel with this objective, more fundamental research, employing new materials and device configurations, was carried out to boost the efficiency of lab-scale devices.
The R&D in this project Robust DSC spanned over a wide range of activities varying from exploration of new materials (dyes, electrolytes, metal-oxides), device concepts, advanced characterization and modeling towards processing of large area modules, lifetime testing, standardization and analysis of commercialization aspects.
The partnership consisted of: two SMEs (3G Solar and G24i) that are committed to large-scale production of DSC, one industry (Corning) that has proven experience on inorganic frits for sealing for a variety of applications, three research institutes (ECN, Swerea IVF, ISE) with expertise in the field of long-term testing, up-scaling and module fabrication, and four academic partners, world leaders in both new DSC materials and concepts, and in fundamental research on cell function and modelling (EPFL, IMPERIAL, ICIQ, UAM).
The combined efforts of the consortium have led to a number of important achievements in Robust DSC that form an essential basis for creating an economically accessible and widely applicable solar energy technology.
· The portfolio of available sensitizing dyes and electrolyte compositions able to achieve > 10 % efficiencies for small cells have been extended tremendously, since the start of the project. Over 13 % efficiencies are obtained for single junction DSC at 0.6 sun illumination conditions for selected materials combinations. The Robust DSC project has therefore achieved unprecedented efficiency records and set new performance benchmarks, which will be of great benefit to the practical implementation and commercial development of this promising new PV technology.
· Development of a characterisation tool set and a whole cell model for predictive evaluation of device performance. The model and tool set have been completed to conditions where it can be disseminated to a wider public.
· It has been proven that hole-closure can be done by glass-frits using laser assisted sealing methods with the aim to demonstrate hermetic packaging of the DSC under all possible operating conditions.
· Large Area DSC demonstrators of 900 up to 6000 cm2 have been manufactured showing the potential of large scale manufacturability of DSC.
· The research institutes responsible for the manufacturing of large area modules have made significant progress in the development of the processing technology, device stability and performance, resulting in two different device technologies (monolithic serial-connected modules and glass-frit sealed sandwich modules) that will be further developed towards commercialisation after ROBUST DSC.
· It has been shown that it is not straightforward to compare the results between different module manufacturers since the processing significantly affects the results.
· It has been shown that there are specific issues involved in defining the degradation of DSC devices due to the dynamic (and module-specific) behaviour of the performance. This has lead to the formulation of a pre-normative standard test protocol for DSC taking into account the specific properties of the DSC concepts.
· An extensive report has been written including cost of materials, evaluation of large scale manufacturability, and life cycle analysis. Additionally, calculations on the Return on Investment (ROI) are provided. Detailed life cycle analysis and energy payback calculations were completed on the module designs of all Robust DSC partners. As a result, a web tool accessible by all partners was created to assist in the analysis. The web-tool will be disseminated for continued use for all people working in the DSC field.