On global energy scenario, dye-sensitized solar cells and the promise of nanotechnology
One of the major problems that humanity has to face in the next 50 years is the energy crisis. The rising population, rapidly changing life styles of people, heavy industrialization and changing landscape of cities have increased energy demands, enormously. The present annual worldwide electricity consumption is 12 TW and is expected to become 24 TW by 2050, leaving a challenging deficit of 12 TW. The present energy scenario of using fossil fuels to meet the energy demand is unable to meet the increase in demand effectively, as these fossil fuel resources are non-renewable and limited. Also, they cause significant environmental hazards, like global warming and the associated climatic issues. Hence, there is an urgent necessity to adopt renewable sources of energy, which are eco-friendly and not extinguishable. Of the various renewable sources available, such as wind, tidal, geothermal, biomass, solar, etc., solar serves as the most dependable option. Solar energy is freely and abundantly available. Once installed, the maintenance cost is very low. It is eco-friendly, safely fitting into our society without any disturbance. Producing electricity from the Sun requires the installation of solar panels, which incurs a huge initial cost and requires large areas of lands for installation. This is where nanotechnology comes into the picture and serves the purpose of increasing the efficiency to higher levels, thus bringing down the overall cost for energy production. Also, emerging low-cost solar cell technologies, e.g. thin film technologies and dye-sensitized solar cells (DSCs) help to replace the use of silicon, which is expensive. Again, nanotechnological implications can be applied in these solar cells, to achieve higher efficiencies. This paper vividly deals with the various available solar cells, choosing DSCs as the most appropriate ones. The nanotechnological implications which help to improve their performance are dealt with, in detail. Additionally, the economic and ecological aspects of using nanotechnology are briefly introduced.