Friday, March 16, 2012

No. 461: A dye-sensitised solar battery from a printing company (March 16, 2012)

Dainippon Printing will launch a solar battery that generates power with the light of a fluorescent lamp this April. The new solar battery is the dye-sensitised solar battery that applies the mechanism of plant photosynthesis. That is, it uses the mechanism that a dye emits electrons when it absorbs light. It is made up of such components as electrolyte and oxidized titanium to which dye is absorbed. It achieved conversion efficiency of about 10% even under the fluorescent lamp in the house and office, thought 10% is lower than 15% achieved by a standard solar battery. Because the dye-sensitised solar battery does not need replacement, the company wishes it to be the power source of electric devices.

Several companies are developing the dye-sensitised solar battery, and they mostly apply the structure that glass sandwiches electrolyte and oxidized titanium, but Dainippon Printing used a transparent film instead and successfully made the battery lighter. In an A5 size (148x210 mm), it is about 1.2 mm thick, and weighs 60 g. It generates 400-500 mW. The company plans to apply it to sensors, digital watches, battery-operated point-of-purchase (POP) devices, and electronic paper.

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