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Zinc Oxide Solar Cells Receiving 8 Percent Boost With Food Dyes

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Zinc oxide-based solar cells have just received an innovation from an Indian scientist, Ram Mehra of Sharda University in Greater Noida, India. He claims boosting the capacity of zinc oxide fuel cells and making them capture more of the incident light by using a blended mixture of common dyes, regularly used in food and medical industries.

Mehra cooperated with other scientists from the University of Delhi. Their work resulted in a solar cell that uses Fast Green, a food dye used in canned vegetables, jellies and sauces and Rose Bengal, used to stain damaged cells and identify eye injuries.

By using all of these dyes, Mehra and his team succeeded boosting the efficiency of zinc oxide fuel cells by almost 8 percent. He says that “by changing composition of the mixture, its properties will change to be more or less suited to a particular useful application.”

Zinc oxide solar cells (actually derived from Graetzel cells, invented by Michael Graetzel) are the next wave of technology in the solar industry, but for the moment only brag low efficiencies, so there is much work to do to make them catch up with silicon solar cells, for example, which have been developed for decades.

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