Deposition and possible influence of a self-cleaning thin TiO2/SiO2 film on a photovoltaic module efficiency
•A self-cleaning thin film was produced from a nano sized TiO2 and amorphous SiO2.•TiO2/SiO2 thin film was deposited on a photovoltaic panel in an urban atmosphere.•Current–voltage characteristics were compared with a non-coated photovoltaic panel.•Structure, morphology and photocatalytic activity of thin films were analysed.
Titanium dioxide as a semiconductor is present for quite some time in the history of solar cell, but not in the form of self-cleaning surfaces. TiO2–SiO2 nanostructured coatings used in environmental applications have proved to be good antifogging, self-cleaning and antimicrobial surfaces due to their photocatalytic properties and photoinduced superhydrophilicity. The main purpose of this research is to investigate whether there is an increase of efficiency of a photovoltaic cell by incorporating a self-cleaning coating on the photovoltaic module, assuming that its efficiency depends on the cleanliness of the surface. Structural and morphological characteristics of TiO2–SiO2 coatings, named UNG10-7C, were analysed by UV–vis and FT-IR spectroscopies, X-ray diffraction and scanning electron microscopy, whereas superhydrophilicity and photocatalytic activity were confirmed by water contact angle measurements and by monitoring the hydroxylation of terephthalic acid. The coating UNG10-7C was deposited on one of the two photovoltaic modules that were exposed to external conditions for 2 months and current–voltage characteristics were monitored. In such a short time, differences in the efficiency of modules were not evident. Nevertheless, it turned out that the coating itself does not reduce the light absorption in the silicon solar cell.
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Journal: Catalysis Today - Volume 252, 1 September 2015, Pages 54–60