Researchers from Michigan Technological University developed a new "3D Graphene" material that can be used to replace platinum used in dye-sensitized solar cells (DSSC). The new material is cheap and easy to make, and using it as an electrode the researcher fabricated a DSSC cell that has an energy efficiency of 7.8% (conventional platinum-electrode based solar cell achieve 8%).
To synthesize this new material, the researchers combined lithium oxide with carbon monoxide in a chemical reaction that forms lithium carbonate (Li2CO3) and the honeycomb graphene. The Li2CO3 helps shape the graphene sheets and isolates them from each other, preventing the formation of garden-variety graphite. It's easy to remove the Li2CO3 particles using acid.