Temperature and irradiance dependence of dye-sensitized solar cell performance
MetadataShow full item record
Dye-sensitized solar cells (DSSCs) are photoelectrochemical cells that offer efficient and potentially economical alternative to conventional solar electricity production technologies. DSSCs belong to the third generation of solar cells and offer several advantages over the solid-state junction solar cells. They utilize materials, such as titanium dioxide that are inexpensive and abundant relative to those used in conventional solar cells. Moreover, DSSCs can be fabricated with simple and scalable manufacturing processes. Finally, in DSSCs, photon absorption and charge-carrier transport are undertaken by different materials, namely molecular dyes and wide band gap semiconductors, respectively. Unlike conventional solar cells, no compromise is necessary between decreasing the band gap for visible light absorption and increasing the band gap to resist photocorrosion. For successful commercialization, a photovoltaic system incorporating DSSCs must operate reliably under a wide range of solar irradiance and operating temperatures. This experimental study reports the fabrication and characterization of the performance of a DSSC as a function of irradiance and operating temperature. The prototyped DSSCs had (i) nanocrystalline titanium(IV) dioxide, TiO₂, photoanode, (ii) platinum thin film cathode, and (iii) acetonitrile based liquid electrolyte. The photoanodes were sensitized with N-749 dye. The current-voltage characteristics of the DSSCs were measured at operating temperatures from 5 to 50° C and under 500, 1000, and 1500 W m⁻² irradiance. The open circuit voltage, V[subscript oc], decreased linearly with increasing temperature and had positive, logarithmic relation with irradiance. At temperatures lower than 15° C and 1500 W m⁻² irradiance, short circuit current density, J[subscript sc], was limited by the diffusion of I₃ in the electrolyte and increased with increasing temperature. At temperatures lower than 15° C and lower irradiance, J[subscript sc] increased with increasing temperature due to electron density limited recombination of electrons injected into the TiO₂ conduction band. At higher temperatures, the recombination was dominant over diffusion and J[scubscript sc] decreased with increasing temperature. Moreover, J[subscript sc] increased linearly with increasing irradiance. The DSSC photoconversion efficiency did not vary appreciably at temperatures lower than 15° C but decreased with increasing temperature. Finally, the DSSC efficiency increased with increasing irradiance. There was no indication of significant coupling effect of irradiance and temperature on DSSC efficiency. This study reports for the first time the coupling between irradiance and thermal effects on the operation of DSSCs. The results reported in this study can be used in recovering kinetic and transport properties that can be used in modeling and optimization of DSSCs.