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International Journal of Photoenergy
Volume 2016 (2016), Article ID 3796074, 11 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2016/3796074
Research Article

Preparation of a Textile-Based Dye-Sensitized Solar Cell

1Deutsches Textilforschungszentrum Nord-West gGmbH, 47798 Krefeld, Germany
2Centro Nacional de Energías Renovables, 31621 Sarriguren, Spain
3Eurecat Centro Tecnologico de Cataluña, 08301 Mataró, Spain
4Dyesol Italia, 00187 Rome, Italy

Received 29 March 2016; Revised 8 July 2016; Accepted 12 July 2016

Academic Editor: Vishal Mehta

Copyright © 2016 Klaus Opwis et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

Solar energy conversion is an object of continuous research, focusing on improving the energy efficiency as well as the structure of photovoltaic cells. With efficiencies continuously increasing, state-of-the-art PV cells offer a good solution to harvest solar energy. However, they are still lacking the flexibility and conformability to be integrated into common objects or clothing. Moreover, many sun-exposed surface areas are textile-based such as garments, tents, truck coverings, boat sails, and home or outdoor textiles. Here, we present a new textile-based dye-sensitized solar cell (DSC) which takes advantage from the properties inherent to fabrics: flexibility, low weight, and mechanical robustness. Due to the necessary thermostability during manufacturing, our DSC design is based on heat-resistant glass-fiber fabrics. After applying all needed layers, the overall structure was covered by a transparent and simultaneously conductive protective film. The light and still flexible large-area devices (up to 6 cm2 per individual unit) are working with efficiencies up to 1.8% at 1/5 of the sun. Stability tests assure no loss of photovoltaic activity over a period of at least seven weeks. Therefore, our technology has paved the way for a new generation of flexible photovoltaic devices, which can be used for the generation of power in the mentioned applications as well as in modern textile architecture.