Does the World Need a Global Project on Artificial Photosynthesis?

Interface Focus 5: 20150029,

5 Pages Posted: 22 Feb 2018

Date Written: 2015


This paper introduces a theme issue of Interface Focus derived from papers presented at the Royal Society supported meeting ‘Do we need a global project on artificial photosynthesis?’ held at Chicheley Hall in July 2014. At that meeting, leaders of national solar fuels and chemicals projects and research presented ‘state of the art’ on artificial photosynthesis (AP) in the context of the policy challenges for globalizing a practical technology to address climate change and energy and food security concerns. The discussions included contributions from many experts with legal and policy skills and uniquely focused on producing principles for prioritizing and specializing work while enhancing the funding and attendant public policy profile. To this end, representatives of major public, philanthropic and private potential stakeholders in such a project (such as the Wellcome Trust, the Moore Foundation, Shell, the Leighty Foundation, the EPSRC and Deutsche Alternative Asset Management) were invited to provide feedback at various points in the meeting. For this Interface Focus issue, speakers at the Chicheley Hall meeting were required to present a snapshot of their cutting edge research related to AP and then draw upon the Chicheley Hall discussions to innovatively analyse how their research could best be advanced by a global AP project. Such multidisciplinary policy analysis was not a skill many of these researchers were experienced or trained in. Nonetheless their efforts here represent one of the first published collections to attempt such a significant task. This introduction contains a brief summary of those papers, focusing particularly on their policy aspects. It then summarizes the core discussions that took place at the Chicheley Hall meeting and sets out some of the central ethical principles that were considered during those discussions.

Keywords: Artificial Photosynthesis, Sustainability, Energy Policy, Climate Change, Sustainocene, Nanotechnology

JEL Classification: O33, L33, I18

Suggested Citation

Faunce, Thomas Alured, Does the World Need a Global Project on Artificial Photosynthesis? (2015). Interface Focus 5: 20150029, Available at SSRN:

Thomas Alured Faunce (Contact Author)

Australian National University ( email )

Canberra, Australian Capital Territory 0200
61 2 61253563 (Phone)

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