Optimizing a Simple Natural Dye Production Method for Dye-Sensitized Solar Cells: Examples for Betalain (Bougainvillea and Beetroot Extracts) and Anthocyanin Dyes

María José García-Salinas, María Jesús Ariza
2019 Applied Sciences  
We present a study about the sensitizers extracted from natural resources. This paper focuses on how to select, extract and characterize natural dyes, giving some guides to establish a protocol for the whole process of fabricating and using these dyes. The influence of the extraction solvent and method, and of parameters such as pH are analyzed. Also, dye precursor and dye extract stability have been studied, as well as how the dye adsorbs onto substrates and the effect of mixing or
more » ... g the extracts. Results concerning betalain pigments present in bougainvillea and beetroot extracts, and anthocyanins in eggplant extracts, analyzed by using UV-Vis spectrometry, are included. As an example of application, we report procedures intended to test and enhance the dye potential as a main component of dye-sensitized solar cells (DSSCs). DSSCs mimic nature's photosynthesis and have some advantages like an easy and low-cost fabrication procedure. Their efficiency depends on its design and fabrication process and also on the different components involved. Hence, optimizing each component is essential to achieve the best performance, and thus the dye used as a sensitizer is crucial. We fabricate cells by using a simple procedure: As the interest is focused on the sensitizer, the same consecutive steps are followed, varying only the dye extract. Among all the natural-dyes tested, beetroot extract reaches up to 0.47% cell efficiency, which is near the highest values found in literature for this pigment.
doi:10.3390/app9122515 fatcat:qlavijzjkngo3mn7ztipfhldi4