Dyesol Adds a Dollop of Dye for Solar Windows

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Australian solar cell company Dyesol has developed transparent dye-infused solar cells that can be sandwiched between two panes of glass to transform windows into energy collection devices.  In a process based on how plants generate energy, Dyesol’s cells use a dye analogous to chlorophyll to absorb light and generate electrical energy.  The cell consists of a nano-particulate porous film formed on a conductive substrate, a layer of dye, a transparent conductor and an electrolyte placed between the dye and the substrate.  The dye-coated nano-particles increase the surface area available for light absorption.  (read more about the technology on Ecogeek and Inhabitat)

Dyesol owns a patent application directed to its proprietary method of manufacturing the dye solar cells.  U.S. Application No. 2008/0105362, which published last week, claims a manufacturing method that comprises forming a nano-particulate layer on a conductive substrate, applying a dye to the nano-particulate layer and treating the nano-particulate layer with an electrolyte.

The resulting dye solar cells differ from traditional solar cells in how light is absorbed and how charge carriers are generated.  In ordinary photovoltaic cells, sunlight is absorbed by a semiconductor material such as silicon, which knocks electrons loose from their atoms, creating electricity.  Here, the dye chemically absorbs the sunlight and generates electrons to carry charge through the conductive substrate.  Thus, instead of photovoltaic or photoelectrical (light to electricity) cells, by virture of the added dye, these are photoelectrochemical cells.

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Eric Lane

Eric Lane, the founder and principal of Green Patent Law, is an intellectual property lawyer and registered U.S. patent attorney in New York and is a member of the bar in New York and California. Eric has more than two decades of experience working with wind, solar PV, CSP, biofuels, and geothermal, energy storage technologies, carbon capture and sequestration, medical devices, data communications, mechanical, chemical, internet and software.