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Materials 2018, 11(7), 1171; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma11071171

Biomass-Derived Nitrogen-Doped Carbon Aerogel Counter Electrodes for Dye Sensitized Solar Cells

1
Department of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering, Syed Babar Ali School of Science and Engineering, Lahore University of Management Sciences, Opposite Sector U, DHA, Lahore 54792, Pakistan
2
School of Engineering and Materials Science and Materials Research Institute, Queen Mary University of London, Mile End Road, London E1 4NS, UK
*
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 7 June 2018 / Revised: 4 July 2018 / Accepted: 5 July 2018 / Published: 9 July 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advanced Biomass-Derived Carbon Materials)
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Abstract

Dye sensitized solar cells have emerged as an attractive alternative to conventional solar cells due to their easy processing and the abundance and low cost of their materials. However, the counter electrode in these cells employs platinum which significantly impacts their cost. Here, we report biomass-derived, nitrogen-doped carbon aerogel as an effective alternative to conventional platinum-based counter electrodes for dye sensitized solar cells. A stable suspension of biomass-derived, nitrogen-doped carbon aerogel was prepared in DMF by using oleylamine as a binder. The nitrogen-doped carbon aerogel electrode was annealed at different temperatures, and its impact on photovoltaic performance is investigated. I-V measurements confirm that the annealing temperature substantially enhances the photovoltaic parameters of these devices; these enhancements are linked to the removal of the organic binders. Electrochemical impedance spectra of the counter electrodes confirm that removal of oleylamine in nitrogen-doped carbon aerogels reduces the series resistance of the resulting electrodes. The power conversion efficiency of the solar cells from optimized nitrogen-doped carbon aerogel exhibited comparable efficiency to that of a cell fabricated using a platinum-based counter electrode. This study demonstrates the potential of biomass-derived carbon aerogels as a cheap and sustainable replacement of platinum in DSSCs. View Full-Text
Keywords: doped carbon aerogel; hydrothermal carbonization; counter electrode; photovoltaic devices; nanoparticles doped carbon aerogel; hydrothermal carbonization; counter electrode; photovoltaic devices; nanoparticles
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Butt, M.T.Z.; Preuss, K.; Titirici, M.-M.; Rehman, H.; Briscoe, J. Biomass-Derived Nitrogen-Doped Carbon Aerogel Counter Electrodes for Dye Sensitized Solar Cells. Materials 2018, 11, 1171.

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