Indian Scientists Develop A Method To Produce Cost Effective Cathodes Used In Solar Cells From Human Hair

Kumar Vishal

October 13th, 2016 / 12:11 PM

Cost Effective Cathodes Can Be Produced By Human Hair

Source: thehindu  sciencedirect| Representational Image : wixstatic

Cost Effective Cathodes Can Be Produced By Human Hair

The cost effective, metal free cathodes used in solar cells can now be produced by human hair. The team, led by Prof. Sayan Bhattacharyya at the Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER), Kolkata have used a bio-wasted-derived electrode as the cathode in a quantum dot sensitised solar cell device. This has been the first time where a bio waste has been used to produce cathode for solar cells.


Contrast from past metal free cathodes produced

The graphitic porous carbon cathode produced by Researchers at IISER is said to be better than traditional metal-based ones. The bio-wasted-derived electrode converts visible sunlight to power(electricity) much profoundly than the commercially available activated carbon cathodes. The green cathodes have potential to bring down the cost of solar cells, as reported by The Hindu.
The power conversion efficiency has been enhanced since the cathode generates high open-circuit voltage. It has the higher efficiency to convert visible sunlight to electricity.


Process of producing graphitic porous carbon cathode

The human hair is first cleaned and dried. They are then subjected to pre-carbonisation by treating them with sulphuric acid at 165 degrees C for 25 minutes. It is then heated to different temperatures in the presence of an inert gas for six hours to carbonise so that it brings better electrical conductivity for charge transfer. The pores collapse with increasing temperature, and the porosity starts reducing. Then at 850 degrees C, green cathodes are fabricated, and highly catalytic graphitic porous carbon is produced. The whole process is simple, quick and inexpensive. The porosity, with high surface area to volume ratio, plays an important role in adsorption-desorption of an electrolyte. The result of the research and process has been published in the journal Carbon.


The Logical Indian congratulates the team at the IISER on the remarkable achievement.


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