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Open AccessArticle

Natural Dyes from Mortiño (Vaccinium floribundum) as Sensitizers in Solar Cells

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Escuela de Ciencias Químicas, Pontificia Universidad Católica del Ecuador, Avenida 12 de Octubre y Roca, Apartado postal: 17 01 21 84 Quito, Ecuador
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Departamento de Física, Escuela Politécnica Nacional, Ladrón de Guevara E11-253, P.O. Box 17-01-2759 Quito, Ecuador
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Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Energies 2020, 13(4), 785; https://doi.org/10.3390/en13040785 (registering DOI)
Received: 23 December 2019 / Revised: 5 February 2020 / Accepted: 6 February 2020 / Published: 11 February 2020
(This article belongs to the Section Solar Energy and Photovoltaic Systems)
Photovoltaic energy presents environmental advantages; however, these advantages are limited by the cost of manufacturing solar cells and in many cases, scarce or dangerous materials are incorporated. Therefore, the use of natural dyes from mortiño (Vaccinium floribundum) as sensitizers in solar cells is proposed. The dyes were extracted by maceration in acidified methanol (HCl, citric acid and trifluoroacetic acid TFA) and were characterized by High-Performance Liquid Chromatography (HPLC), Thin-Layer Chromatography (TLC) and spectrometric methods (UV-Vis, IR and MS-MALDI). The construction and characterization of cells were in standard conditions. The study confirms that pigments in mortiño are flavonoids of the anthocyanidin group as: cyanidin-3-galactoside, and cyanidin-3-arabinoside. The efficiency of solar cells was between 0.18–0.26%; the extraction with TFA in methanol leads to the best performance. Although they have low power conversion efficiency, mortiño dyes could be an alternative to artificial sensitizers for solar cell technologies because they are harmless and abundant substances. View Full-Text
Keywords: anthocyanins; dye; efficiency; mortiño; solar cells; sensitizer anthocyanins; dye; efficiency; mortiño; solar cells; sensitizer
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Taco-Ugsha, M.A.; Santacruz, C.P.; Espinoza-Montero, P.J. Natural Dyes from Mortiño (Vaccinium floribundum) as Sensitizers in Solar Cells. Energies 2020, 13, 785.

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