Ricoh Co Ltd exhibited a prototype of its "totally solid dye-sensitized solar cell (DSSC)" at All About Photonics 2016, a trade show that took place at Pacifico Yokohama, Sept 14, 2016.
Ricoh is preparing a production line for manufacturing 30 x 30cm (unpatterned) cells, planning to start shipment in April 2017. The company expects the cell to be used mainly for supplying power to IoT devices and relatively-low-power-consumption peripheral devices under room lighting.
The totally solid DSSC was developed by replacing iodine solution, which is used for the carrier transport layer in a DSSC, with a mixture of a p-type organic semiconductor material and a solid additive. As a result, problems of DSSC such as liquid leakage and pigment detachment were solved, according to Ricoh.
Higher power generation performance with cost equivalent to amorphous Si solar cells
Other companies are also developing solid DSSCs but have not yet realized cost-competitive products because of the high costs of p-type organic semiconductor materials. This time, Ricoh used its material technologies and device manufacturing technologies such as a material having a structure similar to that of an organic photoreceptor used for multifunction printers. As a result, the company now considers it possible to release its solid DSSC with a price equivalent to that of existing amorphous silicon (Si) solar cells.
The power generation performance of a solar cell module that Ricoh prototyped this time is about 50% higher than that of an amorphous Si solar cell with the same dimensions. While the sides of the prototyped module measure 1.5cm to several centimeters, it is possible to produce 30 x 30cm modules if there is a clear demand, the company said.
At nano tech 2016, a trade show that took place in January 2016, Ricoh Electronic Devices Co Ltd, a subsidiary of Ricoh, exhibited a step-down DC-DC converter with a standard current consumption as small as 100nA. So, they seem to be developing various technologies related to the power supplies of IoT devices including the latest totally solid DSSC.