Solar cells as alternative energy

In order to get around the problems caused by the depletion of fossil fuels, Benoit Marsan, professor at the Chemistry Department of UQAM and specialist in electrochemistry, has been working for 18 years on the improvement of electrochemical solar cells. have allowed two patents to be filed so far.

The first allows it to protect a new method of preparing the cathode, made from a thin layer of almost transparent cobalt sulphide, as well as its application in a solar cell. Very easy to manufacture and inexpensive, the cathode would be more catalytic than those commonly used in electrochemical solar cells, made from platinum. This cathode, which can be used in batteries from different technologies, is moreover currently being tested by a Japanese firm in solar cells based on nanocrystalline titanium dioxide sensitized by a dye (Gratzel type battery).

 The second patent concerns the discovery of new families of redox couples exhibiting exceptional characteristics and which can be used in several high-tech applications, including solar cells. They are transparent, non-corrosive, very conductive and generally have greater electrochemical reversibility. In addition, their oxidation-reduction potential can be modulated according to the nature of the molecules used, thus leading to greater photovoltaics.

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A third patent is pending and will focus on protecting the semiconductor anode. The ultimate challenge will be to integrate all of these components into a single stack. His laboratory then plans to integrate this battery into a vehicle to maintain the battery charge, or even cover an entire vehicle. "We could not generate enough power to propel the vehicle, specifies Benoit Marsan. But we could certainly reduce gasoline consumption substantially."

- Dr. Benoit Marsan, Chair of the Search Committee - Department of Chemistry
and biochemistry - Universite du Quebec a Montreal, CP 8888, Succ.
Center-ville, Montreal (Quebec), Canada H3C 3P8 - email:
Editor: Elodie Pinot, OTTAWA,

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