Sodium Alginate as a Natural Substrate for Efficient and Sustainable Organic Solar Cells

Year: 2022

Authors: Marchi L., Dinelli F., Maccagnani P., Costa V., Chenet T., Belletti G., Natali M., Cocchi M., Bertoldo M., Seri M.

Autors Affiliation: National Research Council – Institute of Organic Synthesis and Photoreactivity (CNR-ISOF), Via P. Gobetti 101, Bologna, 40129, National Research Council – Institute of Organic Synthesis and Photoreactivity (CNR-ISOF), Via P. Gobetti 101, 40129 Bologna, Italy, , Italy; National Research Council – National Institute of Optics (CNR-INO), Via G. Moruzzi 1, Pisa, 56124, National Research Council – National Institute of Optics (CNR-INO), Via G. Moruzzi 1, 56124 Pisa, Italy, , , Italy; National Research Council – National Institute of Optics (CNR-INO), Via G. Moruzzi 1, Pisa, 56124, National Research Council – National Institute of Optics (CNR-INO), Via G. Moruzzi 1, 56124 Pisa, Italy, , , Italy; National Research Council – Institute for Microelectronics and Microsystems, Via P. Gobetti 101, Bologna, 40129, National Research Council – Institute for Microelectronics and Microsystems, Via P. Gobetti 101, 40129 Bologna, Italy, , , Italy; National Research Council – Institute for Microelectronics and Microsystems, Via P. Gobetti 101, Bologna, 40129, National Research Council – Institute for Microelectronics and Microsystems, Via P. Gobetti 101, 40129 Bologna, Italy, , , Italy; Department of Environmental and Prevention Sciences, University of Ferrara, Via L. Borsari 46, Ferrara, 44121, Department of Environmental and Prevention Sciences, University of Ferrara, Via L. Borsari 46, 44121 Ferrara, Italy, , Italy; Department of Chemical, Pharmaceutical and Agricultural Sciences, University of Ferrara, Via L. Borsari 46, Ferrara, 44121, Department of Chemical, Pharmaceutical and Agricultural Sciences, University of Ferrara, Via L. Borsari 46, 44121 Ferrara, Italy, , Italy; National Research Council – Institute of Nanostructured Materials (CNR-ISMN), Via P. Gobetti 101, Bologna, 40129, National Research Council – Institute of Nanostructured Materials (CNR-ISMN), Via P. Gobetti 101, 40129 Bologna, Italy, , Italy

Abstract: Organic electronics, in particular organic photovoltaics, have gained widespread attention due to their unique properties such as lightness, flexibility, and low cost. Thanks to some recent breakthroughs in organic solar cells (OSCs) that exhibit power conversion efficiencies (PCEs) approaching 20%, this technology is slowly making its way into the market as a complementary solution to conventional photovoltaic devices. OSCs are well suited for high-end smart applications, ranging from building integration and Internet of Things to consumer electronics. However, up to now, little attention has been devoted to the environmental impact and sustainability of components and processes. It is thus necessary to develop a new generation of eco-designed devices without losing the level of performance. In this work, we report the fabrication of efficient and stable solution-processed OSCs built on a free-standing sodium alginate (SA) substrate. SA is a natural biodegradable polymer derived from brown algae. It is low-cost, nontoxic, abundant, water-processable, and easy to manipulate for the realization of homogeneous and transparent foils. SA-based OSCs exhibit PCEs from 1.8 to 7.2% and can be disassembled through a safe and sustainable biocatalyzed process, allowing selective and almost entire recovery of precious metals, such as Au and Ag, as well as the separation of all of the main components. This allows us to minimize the production of e-waste, in accordance with the requirements of sustainability and the circular economy.

Journal/Review: ACS SUSTAINABLE CHEMISTRY & ENGINEERING

Volume: 10 (47)      Pages from: 15608  to: 15617

KeyWords: organic solar cells, biomaterials, green electronics, sodium alginate, environmental sustainability
DOI: 10.1021/acssuschemeng.2c05633

Citations: 2
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