Nanocellulose aerogel membranes for optimal electrolyte filling in dye solar cells

K. Miettunen (Corresponding Author), J. Vapaavuori, A. Tiihonen, A. Poskela, Panu Lahtinen, J. Halme, P. Lund

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

29 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

A new method for depositing electrolyte in dye solar cells (DSCs) is introduced: a nanocellulose hydrogel membrane is screen printed on the counter electrode and further freeze-dried to form a highly porous nanocellulose aerogel, which acts as an absorbing sponge for the liquid electrolyte. When the nanoporous dye-sensitized TiO2 photoelectrode film is pressed against the wetted aerogel, it becomes filled with the electrolyte. The electrolyte flows inside the TiO2 film only about ten micrometers (i.e. the TiO2 film thickness) whereas in the conventional filling method, where the electrolyte is pumped through the cell, it flows about 1000-times longer distance, which is known to cause uneven distribution of the electrolyte components due to a molecular filtering effect. Furthermore, with the new method there is no need for electrolyte filling holes which simplifies significantly the sealing of the cells and eliminates one common pathway for leakage. Photovoltaic analysis showed that addition of the nanocellulose aerogel membrane did not have a statistically significant effect on cell efficiency, diffusion in the electrolyte or charge transfer at the counter electrode. There was, however, a clear difference in the short circuit current density and open circuit voltage between the cells filled with the aerogel method and in the reference cells filled with the conventional method, which appeared to be caused by the differences in the electrolyte filling instead of the nanocellulose itself. Moreover, accelerated aging tests at 1 Sun 40°C for 1000h showed that the nanocellulose cells were as stable as the conventional DSCs. The nanocellulose aerogel membranes thus appear inert with respect to both performance and stability of the cells, which is an important criterion for any electrolyte solidifying filler material.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)95-102
Number of pages8
JournalNano Energy
Volume8
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2014
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

Fingerprint

Aerogels
Electrolytes
Solar cells
Coloring Agents
Dyes
Membranes
Electrodes
Hydrogel
Open circuit voltage
Hydrogels
Short circuit currents
Sun
Film thickness
Charge transfer
Fillers
Current density
Aging of materials

Keywords

  • nanocellulose
  • semi-solid electrolytes
  • gel electrolytes
  • dye-sensitized solar cells
  • spatial distribution

Cite this

Miettunen, K., Vapaavuori, J., Tiihonen, A., Poskela, A., Lahtinen, P., Halme, J., & Lund, P. (2014). Nanocellulose aerogel membranes for optimal electrolyte filling in dye solar cells. Nano Energy, 8, 95-102. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.nanoen.2014.05.013
Miettunen, K. ; Vapaavuori, J. ; Tiihonen, A. ; Poskela, A. ; Lahtinen, Panu ; Halme, J. ; Lund, P. / Nanocellulose aerogel membranes for optimal electrolyte filling in dye solar cells. In: Nano Energy. 2014 ; Vol. 8. pp. 95-102.
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abstract = "A new method for depositing electrolyte in dye solar cells (DSCs) is introduced: a nanocellulose hydrogel membrane is screen printed on the counter electrode and further freeze-dried to form a highly porous nanocellulose aerogel, which acts as an absorbing sponge for the liquid electrolyte. When the nanoporous dye-sensitized TiO2 photoelectrode film is pressed against the wetted aerogel, it becomes filled with the electrolyte. The electrolyte flows inside the TiO2 film only about ten micrometers (i.e. the TiO2 film thickness) whereas in the conventional filling method, where the electrolyte is pumped through the cell, it flows about 1000-times longer distance, which is known to cause uneven distribution of the electrolyte components due to a molecular filtering effect. Furthermore, with the new method there is no need for electrolyte filling holes which simplifies significantly the sealing of the cells and eliminates one common pathway for leakage. Photovoltaic analysis showed that addition of the nanocellulose aerogel membrane did not have a statistically significant effect on cell efficiency, diffusion in the electrolyte or charge transfer at the counter electrode. There was, however, a clear difference in the short circuit current density and open circuit voltage between the cells filled with the aerogel method and in the reference cells filled with the conventional method, which appeared to be caused by the differences in the electrolyte filling instead of the nanocellulose itself. Moreover, accelerated aging tests at 1 Sun 40°C for 1000h showed that the nanocellulose cells were as stable as the conventional DSCs. The nanocellulose aerogel membranes thus appear inert with respect to both performance and stability of the cells, which is an important criterion for any electrolyte solidifying filler material.",
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Miettunen, K, Vapaavuori, J, Tiihonen, A, Poskela, A, Lahtinen, P, Halme, J & Lund, P 2014, 'Nanocellulose aerogel membranes for optimal electrolyte filling in dye solar cells', Nano Energy, vol. 8, pp. 95-102. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.nanoen.2014.05.013

Nanocellulose aerogel membranes for optimal electrolyte filling in dye solar cells. / Miettunen, K. (Corresponding Author); Vapaavuori, J.; Tiihonen, A.; Poskela, A.; Lahtinen, Panu; Halme, J.; Lund, P.

In: Nano Energy, Vol. 8, 2014, p. 95-102.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

TY - JOUR

T1 - Nanocellulose aerogel membranes for optimal electrolyte filling in dye solar cells

AU - Miettunen, K.

AU - Vapaavuori, J.

AU - Tiihonen, A.

AU - Poskela, A.

AU - Lahtinen, Panu

AU - Halme, J.

AU - Lund, P.

PY - 2014

Y1 - 2014

N2 - A new method for depositing electrolyte in dye solar cells (DSCs) is introduced: a nanocellulose hydrogel membrane is screen printed on the counter electrode and further freeze-dried to form a highly porous nanocellulose aerogel, which acts as an absorbing sponge for the liquid electrolyte. When the nanoporous dye-sensitized TiO2 photoelectrode film is pressed against the wetted aerogel, it becomes filled with the electrolyte. The electrolyte flows inside the TiO2 film only about ten micrometers (i.e. the TiO2 film thickness) whereas in the conventional filling method, where the electrolyte is pumped through the cell, it flows about 1000-times longer distance, which is known to cause uneven distribution of the electrolyte components due to a molecular filtering effect. Furthermore, with the new method there is no need for electrolyte filling holes which simplifies significantly the sealing of the cells and eliminates one common pathway for leakage. Photovoltaic analysis showed that addition of the nanocellulose aerogel membrane did not have a statistically significant effect on cell efficiency, diffusion in the electrolyte or charge transfer at the counter electrode. There was, however, a clear difference in the short circuit current density and open circuit voltage between the cells filled with the aerogel method and in the reference cells filled with the conventional method, which appeared to be caused by the differences in the electrolyte filling instead of the nanocellulose itself. Moreover, accelerated aging tests at 1 Sun 40°C for 1000h showed that the nanocellulose cells were as stable as the conventional DSCs. The nanocellulose aerogel membranes thus appear inert with respect to both performance and stability of the cells, which is an important criterion for any electrolyte solidifying filler material.

AB - A new method for depositing electrolyte in dye solar cells (DSCs) is introduced: a nanocellulose hydrogel membrane is screen printed on the counter electrode and further freeze-dried to form a highly porous nanocellulose aerogel, which acts as an absorbing sponge for the liquid electrolyte. When the nanoporous dye-sensitized TiO2 photoelectrode film is pressed against the wetted aerogel, it becomes filled with the electrolyte. The electrolyte flows inside the TiO2 film only about ten micrometers (i.e. the TiO2 film thickness) whereas in the conventional filling method, where the electrolyte is pumped through the cell, it flows about 1000-times longer distance, which is known to cause uneven distribution of the electrolyte components due to a molecular filtering effect. Furthermore, with the new method there is no need for electrolyte filling holes which simplifies significantly the sealing of the cells and eliminates one common pathway for leakage. Photovoltaic analysis showed that addition of the nanocellulose aerogel membrane did not have a statistically significant effect on cell efficiency, diffusion in the electrolyte or charge transfer at the counter electrode. There was, however, a clear difference in the short circuit current density and open circuit voltage between the cells filled with the aerogel method and in the reference cells filled with the conventional method, which appeared to be caused by the differences in the electrolyte filling instead of the nanocellulose itself. Moreover, accelerated aging tests at 1 Sun 40°C for 1000h showed that the nanocellulose cells were as stable as the conventional DSCs. The nanocellulose aerogel membranes thus appear inert with respect to both performance and stability of the cells, which is an important criterion for any electrolyte solidifying filler material.

KW - nanocellulose

KW - semi-solid electrolytes

KW - gel electrolytes

KW - dye-sensitized solar cells

KW - spatial distribution

U2 - 10.1016/j.nanoen.2014.05.013

DO - 10.1016/j.nanoen.2014.05.013

M3 - Article

VL - 8

SP - 95

EP - 102

JO - Nano Energy

JF - Nano Energy

SN - 2211-2855

ER -