Propionitrile (PPN) or 3-methoxypropionitrile (MPN) is mixed with acetonitrile (ACN) to prepare ACN/PPN and ACN/MPN co-solvents and used to fabricate polymer gel electrolytes (PGEs) of dye-sensitized solar cells (DSSCs), aiming at improving the stability of gel-state DSSCs. Co-solvents with various ratios are utilized to prepare PGEs using poly(acrylonitrile-co-vinyl acetate) (PAN-VA) as the gelator. The ratio effects of the co-solvents on the properties of PGEs and the performances of the corresponding DSSCs are studied. The results show that in-situ gelation of the gel-electrolytes can still be performed at the presence of 40% PPN or 30% MPN. However, increasing the composition of PPN and MPN in the co-solvents triggers a decrease in the diffusivity and conductivity of the PGEs, but an increase in the viscosity. Therefore, the energy conversion efficiencies of the cells decrease as a result. However, the introduction of PPN and MPN elevates the gel-to-liquid transition temperature (Tp) of the PGEs which significantly increases the stability of the gel-state DSSCs. Comparing between the effects of the two co-solvents, PPN and MPN have similar effect on elevation of Tp, but the conductivity of PGEs and the corresponding cell efficiency are higher for the ACN/PPN system, attributed to its lower viscosity compared with ACN/MPN system. By using the ACN/PPN (60/40) co-solvent at the presence of TiO2 fillers, gel-state cell with an efficiency of 8.3% can be achieved, which is even higher than that obtained by the liquid state cell (8%). After 500 h test at 60 °C, the cell can retain 95.4% of its initial efficiency.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
- Energy Engineering and Power Technology
- Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
- Electrical and Electronic Engineering