Politecnico di Torino - Corso Duca degli Abruzzi, 24 - 10129 Torino, ITALY

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Circular economyEconomia circolareESTECHFood wastePhotovoltaicVegetable dyeVinificationZero Waste


For the first time, agro-food waste is used to manufacture photovoltaic cells that produce renewable and sustainable electricity: natural dyes can be extracted from winemaking residues (normally disposed of) and use to capture solar energy. Through this patented method, therefore, a production waste is recovered and transformed into a “green” resource.

Technical features

Photovoltaic cells are devices capable of converting solar energy into electrical energy, mimicking the process of photosynthesis. Technologies based on organic materials are attracting increasing interest: the most promising are the “Dye Sensitized Solar Cells” (DSSC), in which natural dyes capture sunlight and inject electrons into the semiconductor on which they are adsorbed. Blueberries, currants, eggplants are some of the vegetable foods already used for dye extraction. These are fresh edible resources and their use is in competition with food necessities. The innovative method of the invention, instead, recovers a waste otherwise disposed of, the so-called “lees” produced in winemaking and clarification processes, enhancing it as a “green” resource for extracting the organic dye required by DSSC. A waste regeneration that results in an economic advantage and a low environmental impact.

Possible Applications

  • Photoelectrochemical sensitized solar cells, known as “Dye Sensitized Solar Cells” (DSSC) or Graetzel cells.


  • Sustainable electricity production with low environmental impact;
  • Efficient energy conversion in cloudy weather or artificial lighting;
  • Affordability compared to traditional photovoltaic systems (silicon cells);
  • Valorization of a winemaking waste otherwise disposed of by farms.