IIT Roorkee engineers are working on developing low-cost solar cells using jamuns. The pigment that is naturally present in Jamun is used as the cheaper photosensitizer as “Dry Sensitized solar cells” or DSSCs. These cells form a layer of porous titanium dioxide coated photoanode and a layer of molecules capable of absorbing natural sunlight along with the electrolyte and cathode. All these components form a structure where the dye molecules allow the absorption of visible light.
The lead researcher of the project, Mr. Soumitra Satapathi said that the idea clicked after watching the black-colored jamuns in the IIT Roorkee campus. Satapathi and his team comprising of Nipun Sawhney and Anubhav Raghav worked on extracting dyes from Jamun.
The Jamun was extracted using ethanol and also used plums. They also used black current along with mixed berry juices that contain special pigments to get the desired and perfect color of the Jamun.
Further, he mentioned that the natural pigments are much more economical than the Ruthenium-based pigments. Those pigments are used to improve the efficiency of the solar cells. Satapathi, who is the visiting officer from the USA believed that Indians has huge potential and ambition to deal with solar cells. Moreover, India is aiming to hold 40% of its total power generated by the end of 2030.
The Government of India is also planning to have all cars on the roads to be electrically powered by the next 10 years. In order to achieve this dream, the low-cost solar cells have been developed. IIT’s dream towards a better India would be fulfilled by taking this first step in the desired direction.