NiS submicron cubes with efficient electrocatalytic activity as the counter electrode of dye-sensitized solar cells.
ABSTRACT: In this work, nickel sulfide (NiS) submicron cubes, synthesized by an easy hydrothermal method, were investigated as an efficient electrocatalytic material of dye-sensitized solar cells (DSSCs), to our knowledge, for the first time. Part of the NiS submicron cubes were grown together in a hydrothermal procedure and formed the connected submicron cube cluster. The NiS submicron cubes (with a diameter of 300-800 nm) showed excellent electrocatalytic activity and presented superior photovoltaic performance when it was used as an electrocatalytic material for the counter electrode (CE) of DSSCs. The CE composed of the NiS submicron cubes could achieve a photovoltaic efficiency of 6.4%, showing their superior performance compared with the typical Pt electrode (which with the corresponding conversion efficiency was 5.3% at the same condition). The low-cost NiS submicron cube electrode could be a competitive candidate to replace the traditional Pt electrode in DSSCs. The simple composition procedure of NiS submicron cubes could enable the low-cost mass production of an efficient NiS submicron cube electrode to be easily accomplished.
Project description:To satisfy the high requirement of catalytic activity for efficient dye-sensitized solar cells (DSSCs), a novel nanoporous NiS film with inverse opal structure and outstanding electrocatalytic properties was prepared by a facile template-assisted electrodeposition method. The inverse opal structure makes the film have a larger specific surface area and more catalytic sites, thereby result to a higher electrocatalytic activity. Compared with the flat NiS/FTO electrode, this kind of nanoporous NiS film with inverse opal structure has higher catalytic activity and can be used as a cheap and efficient Pt-free electrode to replace the traditional Pt/FTO electrode. It is of great significance to reduce the cost and promote the wide application of DSSCs. This study opens up a new experimental exploration for further improving the catalytic activity of NiS electrode and the according photovoltaic efficiency of DSSCs. The template-assisted electrodeposition method proposed in this work provides a facile method for morphology control and an easy to be realized way to optimize the catalytic performance of the metal sulfides counter electrode.
Project description:A cost effective and efficient alternative counter electrode (CE) to replace commercially existing platinum (Pt)-based CEs for dye-sensitized solar cells (DSSCs) is necessary to make DSSCs competitive. Herein, we report the large-area growth of molybdenum telluride (MoTe2) thin films by sputtering-chemical vapor deposition (CVD) on conductive glass substrates for Pt-free CEs of DSSCs. Cyclic voltammetry (CV), Tafel curve analysis, and electrochemical impedance spectroscopy (EIS) results showed that the as-synthesized MoTe2 exhibited good electrocatalytic properties and a low charge transfer resistance at the electrolyte-electrode interface. The optimized MoTe2 CE revealed a high power conversion efficiency of 7.25% under a simulated solar illumination of 100?mW?cm-2 (AM 1.5), which was comparable to the 8.15% observed for a DSSC with a Pt CE. The low cost and good electrocatalytic properties of MoTe2 thin films make them as an alternative CE for DSSCs.
Project description:Metal-free carbon-based electrocatalysts for dye-sensitized solar cells (DSSCs) are sufficiently active in Co(II)/Co(III) electrolytes but are not satisfactory in the most commonly used iodide/triiodide (I(-)/I3 (-)) electrolytes. Thus, developing active and stable metal-free electrocatalysts in both electrolytes is one of the most important issues in DSSC research. We report the synthesis of edge-selenated graphene nanoplatelets (SeGnPs) prepared by a simple mechanochemical reaction between graphite and selenium (Se) powders, and their application to the counter electrode (CE) for DSSCs in both I(-)/I3 (-) and Co(II)/Co(III) electrolytes. The edge-selective doping and the preservation of the pristine graphene basal plane in the SeGnPs were confirmed by various analytical techniques, including atomic-resolution transmission electron microscopy. Tested as the DSSC CE in both Co(bpy)3 (2+/3+) (bpy = 2,2'-bipyridine) and I(-)/I3 (-) electrolytes, the SeGnP-CEs exhibited outstanding electrocatalytic performance with ultimately high stability. The SeGnP-CE-based DSSCs displayed a higher photovoltaic performance than did the Pt-CE-based DSSCs in both SM315 sensitizer with Co(bpy)3 (2+/3+) and N719 sensitizer with I(-)/I3 (-) electrolytes. Furthermore, the I3 (-) reduction mechanism, which has not been fully understood in carbon-based CE materials to date, was clarified by an electrochemical kinetics study combined with density functional theory and nonequilibrium Green's function calculations.
Project description:Tellurium-doped, mesoporous carbon nanomaterials with a relatively high doping level were prepared by a simple stabilization and carbonization method in the presence of a tellurium metalloid. A transparent counter electrode (CE) was prepared using tellurium-doped, mesoporous carbon (TeMC) materials, and was directly applied to bifacial, dye-sensitized solar cells (DSSCs). To improve the performance of the bifacial DSSC device, CEs should have outstanding electrocatalytic activity, electrical conductivity, and electrochemical stability, as well as high transparency. In this study, to make transparent electrodes with outstanding electrocatalytic activity and electrical conductivity, various TeMC materials with different carbonization temperatures were prepared by simple pyrolysis of the polyacrylonitrile-block-poly (n-butyl acrylate) (PAN-b-PBA) block copolymer in the presence of the tellurium metalloid. The electrocatalytic activity of the prepared TeMC materials were evaluated through a dummy cell test, and the material with the best catalytic ability was selected and optimized for application in bifacial DSSC devices by controlling the film thickness of the CE. As a result, the bifacial DSSC devices with the TeMC CE exhibited high power conversion efficiencies (PCE), i.e., 9.43% and 8.06% under front and rear side irradiation, respectively, which are the highest values reported for bifacial DSSCs to date. Based on these results, newly-developed transparent, carbon-based electrodes may lead to more stable and effective bifacial DSSC development without sacrificing the photovoltaic performance of the DSSC device.
Project description:Dye-sensitized solar cells (DSSCs) are solar energy conversion devices with high efficiency and simple fabrication procedures. Developing transparent counter electrode (CE) materials for bifacial DSSCs can address the needs of window-type building-integrated photovoltaics (BIPVs). Herein, transparent organic-inorganic hybrid composite films of molybdenum disulfide and poly(3,4-ethylenedioxythiophene) (MoS2/PEDOT) are prepared to take full advantage of the conductivity and electrocatalytic ability of the two components. MoS2 is synthesized by hydrothermal method and spin-coated to form the MoS2 layer, and then PEDOT films are electrochemically polymerized on top of the MoS2 film to form the composite CEs. The DSSC with the optimized MoS2/PEDOT composite CE shows power conversion efficiency (PCE) of 7% under front illumination and 4.82% under back illumination. Compared with the DSSC made by the PEDOT CE and the Pt CE, the DSSC fabricated by the MoS2/PEDOT composite CE improves the PCE by 10.6% and 6.4% for front illumination, respectively. It proves that the transparent MoS2/PEDOT CE owes superior conductivity and catalytic properties, and it is an excellent candidate for bifacial DSSC in the application of BIPVs.
Project description:The counter electrode has a great influence on the performance of the dye-sensitized solar cells (DSSCs). The research and development of Pt-free counter electrode is becoming one of the hot areas in the field of DSSCs. Herein, we successfully synthesized a ternary metal sulfide (CoNi2S4) nanostructure on FTO substrate by hydrothermal method and investigated its application as counter electrode. The as-synthesized sample could exhibit better electrocatalystic property than that of Pt, and corresponding DSSCs have comparable conversion efficiency with typical Pt catalyzed cells. The easy synthesis, low cost and excellent electrocatalytic property may help the CoNi2S4 nanostructure stand out as an alternative counter electrode in DSSCs.
Project description:Wurtzite and kesterite Cu2ZnSnS4 (CZTS) nanocrystals were employed as counter electrode (CE) materials for dye-sensitized solar cells (DSSCs). Compared to kesterite CZTS, the wurtzite CZTS exhibited higher electrocatalytic activity for catalyzing reduction of iodide electrolyte and better conductivity. Accordingly, the DSSC with wurtzite CZTS CE generated higher power conversion efficiency (6.89%) than that of Pt (6.23%) and kesterite CZTS (4.89%) CEs.
Project description:Transition-metal compounds/carbon hybrids with high electrocatalytic capability possess attractive potential as a counter electrode (CE) for dye-sensitized solar cells (DSSCs). However, the simple structure and agglomeration always result in poor performance. Herein, cobalt selenides confined in hollow N-doped porous carbon interconnected by carbon nanotubes (CNTs) with cobalt selenides encapsulated inside (denoted as CoSe@NPC/CoSe@CNTs) are formed through in situ pyrolysis and selenization process. In this strategy, ZIF-67 is used as the precursor, structure inducer, and carbon source for the orientated growth of CNTs. Such a rational architecture provides a stable interconnected conductive network and a hierarchically porous structure, with more available active sites and a shortened pathway for charge transport, synergistically enhancing the electrocatalytic activity. Specifically, the DSSCs based on CoSe@NPC/CoSe@CNTs demonstrate a high efficiency of 7.36%, even superior to that of Pt (7.16%). Furthermore, the CoSe@NPC/CoSe@CNT CE also demonstrates a good long-term stability in the iodine-based electrolyte.
Project description:The present study reports the use of one-dimensional carbon wrapped VO2(M) nanofiber (VO2(M)/C) as a cost-effective counter electrode for dye-sensitized solar cells (DSSCs); where M denotes monoclinic crystal system. Uniform short length nanofiber was synthesised by a sol-gel based simple and versatile electrospinning and post carbonization technique. The investigation of nanostructure and morphological analysis were performed by X-ray diffraction (XRD), field emission scanning electron microscope (FE-SEM), and transmission electron microscope (TEM) with EDAX. The electrochemical response was comprehensively characterized by cyclic voltammetry, electrochemical impedance spectroscopy and Tafel polarization. The electrochemical analysis of the VO2(M)/C nanofiber counter electrode exhibits significant electrocatalytic activity towards the reduction of triiodide and low charge transfer resistance at the electrode-electrolyte interface. The DSSCs fabricated with carbon-wrapped VO2(M) nanofiber CE showed high power conversion efficiency of 6.53% under standard test condition of simulated 1SUN illumination at AM1.5 G, which was comparable to the 7.39% observed for conventional thermally decomposed Pt CE based DSSC under same test conditions. This result encourages the next step of modification and use of low-cost VO2(M) as an alternate counter electrode for DSSCs to achieve a substantial efficiency for future energy demand.
Project description:Multi-walled carbon nanotube (MWCNT)/TiO2 mesoporous networks can be employed as a new alternative photoanode in dye-sensitized solar cells (DSSCs). By using the MWCNT/TiO2 mesoporous as photoanodes in DSSC, we demonstrate that the MWCNT/TiO2 mesoporous photoanode is promising alternative to standard FTO/TiO2 mesoporous based DSSC due to larger specific surface area and high electrochemical activity. We also show that iron pyrite (FeS2) thin films can be used as an efficient counter electrode (CE), an alternative to the conventional high cost Pt based CE. We are able to synthesis FeS2 nanostructures utilizing a very cheap and easy hydrothermal growth route. MWCNT/TiO2 mesoporous based DSSCs with FeS2 CE achieved a high solar conversion efficiency of 7.27% under 100 mW cm(-2) (AM 1.5G 1-Sun) simulated solar irradiance which is considerably (slightly) higher than that of A-CNT/TiO2 mesoporous based DSSCs with Pt CE. Outstanding performance of the FeS2 CE makes it a very promising choice among the various CE materials used in the conventional DSSC and it is expected to be used more often to achieve higher photon-to-electron conversion efficiencies.