Fast production of the ZnO nanorods by bottom up approach using arc discharge method in de-ionized water was carried out. Structural analysis showed that the obtained ZnO powder exhibits crystallize in the hexagonal wurtzite structure with (101) preferential orientation. Furthermore, transmission electron microscopy observations showed that rod-like structure is the abundant form with a bimodial grain size distribution around 10 and 30 nm. Optical characterization of the as-synthesized ZnO nanorods revealed the existence of the two absorption and photoluminescence (PL) bands both located at UV spectral region attributed to the two grain size distributions. In addition, the two additional visible bands PL spectrum located at 430 and 492 nm are attributed the interstitial zinc and oxygen vacancies; respectively. Dye sensitized solar cells (DSSCs) were successfully produced via different ruthenium based dyes and ferrocene liquid electrolyte by using of as synthesized ZnO nanorods modified photoanodes. It has been found that DSSCs made with N719 dye is the most efficient with photoconversion of approximately 7% compared to the other dyes. Such nanorod form of the ZnO nanostructures with ruthenium dyes resulted in significant improvements of the device performance in terms of electron transportation and UV light absorption. This work would explore feasible routes to synthesize efficient metal-oxide nanostructures for opto-electronic or other related applications. Published by Elsevier B. V.