Making A Dye-Sensitized Solar Cell Is Almost DIY-able

We see plenty of solar projects here on Hackaday, but they primarily consist of projects that use an off-the-shelf solar panel to power something else. We see very few projects where people actually create their own solar panels. And yet, that’s precisely what [Shih Wei Chieh] has done!

The project consists of a large dye-sensitized solar panel. These are a type of solar panel that can easily be created by the DIY builder, though their efficiency leaves something to be desired versus the best commercial types available. However, you can build them in any way you like to suit your application, which can have some potential benefits.

It consists of two pieces of FTO glass that is etched and prepared to become the electrodes for a string of solar cells. The cells have to be treated with titanium dioxide and then laced with silver traces, before being assembled with liquid electrolyte squirted in between. It’s finicky stuff, but the video almost makes it look easy… if you’re familiar with working in a chemistry lab, that is.

While it’s DIY-able, it’s at the outer edge of what some of us would be comfortable with. It does involve some steps with semi-obscure chemicals and the use of a kiln to produce the cells. The design shown here outputs around 5.8 volts and 51 milliamps. It’s not heaps, but it’s enough to run a low-power project for some time in an area with decent sun.

We’ve seen some other great solar projects over the years, too! Video after the break.

9 thoughts on “Making A Dye-Sensitized Solar Cell Is Almost DIY-able

      1. Nuclear waste is really a non-issue. Most of it is just needs to be stored for few decades before it returns to normal levels of radiation. People confuse nuclear waste with radioactive waste which is the spent fuel. Spent fuel can be reprocessed multiple times. You end up with stuff like Pu-238 which is great for making RTGs which are vital for spacecraft. Really, all the radioactive stuff can be condensed to fit into a single facility if needed but there are other ways it can be used which the anti-nuclear people like to pretend don’t exist.

        Anyway, we should be doing more research into materials for running molten salt reactors instead of light-water reactors because they are vastly superior and removes any chance of meltdowns. At the same time we should invest in researching using thorium as a fuel because we have it in great abundance.

        Honestly, the anti-nuclear crowd (which was backed by the fossil-fuel corps) have really done humanity a HUGE disservice be demonizing nuclear power.

      1. After making a home nuclear plant with 5000 smoke detectors, they don’t have to pay for electricity at all! Because their neighborhood is now a superfund site and the utilities are included in prison.

    1. If you can show me a youtube video of someone producing 5V@50mA from a nuclear fission (or fusion) process at home, that uses fewer chemicals and materials than this, I’ll accept your criticism. As it is, this is many orders of magnitude of less waste than any nuclear power plant for the rated output.

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