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Posted on January 6, 2012 by  & 

Tanaka exclusively supply ruthenium dye for dye-sensitized solar cells

The product is a ruthenium complex dye being used as a light-harvesting material to perform photon-to-current conversion in dye-sensitized solar cells which hailed as the next generation of solar cells. Dye-sensitized solar cells using the product achieve efficiency over 11.4 % for converting light energy into electricity, which is the world's highest level for dye-sensitized solar cells.
The ruthenium complex dye was developed at National Central University, Taiwan with the efficiency of the dye being evaluated by the team of Professor Michael Grätzel, who is a world authority on dye-sensitized solar cells, at École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, Switzerland. Tanaka Precious Metals has independently obtained a sales license from National Central University, Taiwan, to exclusively manufacture and sell the dye.
-New dye's light absorption approaches the sunlight to enhance conversion efficiency
Dye-sensitized solar cells utilize a mechanism in which electric power is generated when light shines on the dye, and have been developed as one of next-generation solar cells that enables lower power generation costs. In dye-sensitized solar cells, one of the key elements for reaching high conversion efficiency is the dye that absorbs light and much research and
development has been conducted on ruthenium complex dyes as a stable dye with high performance.
The ruthenium complex dye developed by National Central University, Taiwan, exhibits the capacity to absorb more visible sunlight, reaching a remarkable conversion efficiency of over 11.4%. Tanaka Precious Metals, as a company for manufacturing and selling the metal related products, will exclusively manufacture and sell the dye. It is making a big effort on developing high-yield manufacturing processes and recycling ruthenium metal aiming at reducing the dye cost through the practical and extensive application of the technology to stable supply and effective utilization of ruthenium metal in the dye.
-Toward widespread use of dye-sensitized solar cells
Manufacturing processes for dye-sensitized solar cells do not require vast facilities such as highly energy-consuming vacuum equipment and clean rooms. The electrodes for dye-sensitized solar cells can be printed conveniently under ambient environment. These features enable significantly lower manufacturing costs compared to currently widespread crystalline silicon solar cells. Furthermore, not only can the color of the cells be freely changed by changing the dye color but also providing conversion efficiency even with indoor light, it is possible to fabricate thin, lightweight, transparent, and flexible solar cell modules by using plastic substrate. Thus, it is expected to have the design-oriented applications such as attachment to the surface of windows, clothes and portable electronic devices.
Tanaka Precious Metals estimates that the use of these dye-sensitized solar cells starting to spread from 2013 and they will account for 5% - 10% of the overall solar cell market by 2015.
In manufacturing and sales, Tanaka Precious Metals has also obtained a license from National Central University, Taiwan, to sell the CYC-B1 ruthenium complex dye with conversion efficiency over 9.5%. The company aims to push the annual sales of ruthenium complex dyes to 300 million yen by 2015.
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