Natural dye extracts of wasted fruit peels as photo-sensitizers for TiO2 based dye-sensitized solar cells (DSSCs)

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Research Paper 01/11/2019
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Natural dye extracts of wasted fruit peels as photo-sensitizers for TiO2 based dye-sensitized solar cells (DSSCs)


Fruits and vegetable peels/skin are considered as inedible and waste material or by-products during juice processing. However, peels are excellent source of natural dye that can be used for various purposes. Six different plant species (ND1-ND6) namely Beta vulgaris, Lycopersicum esculentum, Prunus domestica,  Vitis vinefera, Punica granatum and Daucus carota were selected as a source of natural dye extraction and its application for DSSCs. The ethanolic extraction was made through maceration. The photo-physical, electrochemical and photovoltaic responses of natural dyes were analysed through UV-visible absorption spectrometry, cyclic voltammetry and J-V curves respectively. The absorption spectra of dyes indicate two discrete bands i.e. π – π* and ICT band. The ND4 dye exhibits best absorption of ICT band at λmax 550 nm. Cyclic voltammetric studies revealed discrete oxidation and reduction peaks in ND4 and ND5 dyes while in other dyes these peaks were unclear. The photovoltaic performance of dyes was investigated by fabricating DSSCs with thin film of TiO2. The open circuit voltages of dyes were 0.45V, 0.31V, 0.34V, 0.38V, 0.34V, 0.33V while the short circuit current density values were 2.93mA/cm2, 3.38 mA/cm2, 1.65 mA/cm2, 5.41 mA/cm2, 2.53 mA/cm2 and 2.35mA/cm2 respectively. The highest light to energy conversion efficiency was of ND4=0.9% with good UV absorption and higher short circuit current density which leads to higher efficiency. Efficiency of other dyes is in the following order ND1=0.7% > ND5=0.5% > ND2=0.42% > ND6=0.4% > ND3=0.3%. Hence, Natural dye from wasted peels can be economical and eco-friendly source of dye for DSSCs.


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