Scaling Up Artificial Photosynthesis

Socio-Economical Challenges and Opportunities

An Interdisciplinary Workshop

The registration form for this workshop can be found at the bottom of this page


Current technologies such as photovoltaic-electrolysis can be used for producing hydrogen through water splitting, but due to high implementation costs, it remains an open-question if scaling-up is possible to have an impact on global fossil fuel consumption. Artificial photosynthesis instead offers a design concept that minimizes the complexity of a solar-to-fuel plant, allowing scale-up to the terawatt level, as is being demonstrated by natural photosynthesis. Like a photovoltaic cell, a photosynthetic cell can be developed that enables the conversion of CO2 (or N2) to fuels (hydrocarbons, ammonia etc.) in one step through sun light. In this context, the promise of developing a photosynthesis “tile” has received attention from scientists, policy makers as well as society at large. Artificial photosynthesis promises to disrupt current energy infrastructures and respond to the global need for green energy.

The Workshop

In the context of the NAMEs project (Responsible Innovation Paths for Ultrathin Nanomembranes), we organize a series of interdisciplinary reflection workshops on the challenges and opportunities for artificial photosynthesis. The goal of the workshop is to understand the perspectives of various stakeholders on these challenges and opportunities and to compare and discuss them openly. Given the inter-disciplinary nature of the group, the workshop will focus not on current theoretical and technical bottlenecks but on the general prospects for this technology. Looking at the road ahead, we seek to obtain together a better understanding of the stakeholders involved in various technology development scenarios as well as the impact of societal, political, economic, and ethical factors.

We invite all stakeholders that have an interest in scaling up artificial photosynthesis and we encourage critical voices and alternative views. Groups include:

  • researchers in electrochemical conversions and materials

  • researchers in energy policy and governance

  • researchers in responsible research and innovation

  • policy makers for energy and fuels

  • policy makers for research

  • societal actors such as NGOs

  • citizens with an interest in AP

  • start-ups and scale-ups in AP

  • industry players (contributors or competitors)


Part One. Stakeholder analysis

Main question: What are the most important stakeholders relevant for the technology of artificial photosynthesis and what is their current impact on its development?

Activity: Participants work together to create a stakeholder map of individuals, groups and institutions that are relevant to understanding the broader societal context in which the technology is developed

Part Two. Scenario development

Main question: What lies ahead for the technology of artificial photosynthesis and what are the factors (decisions) influencing specific scenarios?

Activity: Participants work together to create three scenarios: (i) best-case scenario, (ii) worst-case scenario, (iii) most likely scenario.


Each workshop session lasts 1,5 hrs. The time includes a 10-min break in between the two sessions. It does not include optional networking time at the end.

1. Introduction 5-10 min
2. Stakeholder Analysis 30-40 min

Break 10 min

3. Scenario Development 30-40 min
4. Final discussion 10-15 min


The workshop will be held online via Microsoft Teams. You can participate via your browser or download Microsoft Teams for free here.

Privacy and data

The workshop discussions (parts 2-4 above) will be recorded audio and video. The data will be stored as text transcripts after full anonymization. Full anonymization implies that both the speakers’ identity and their background is fully and permanently deleted from the transcript. The data will only be employed for research purposes within the Ri-Paths project. The transcripts will be sent back to the participants for validation before use.


Dr. Georgios Katsoukis, Assistant Professor, Photocatalytic Synthesis Group (PCS), University of Twente

Dr. Eugen Popa, Postdoctoral Researcher, Science Technology and Policy Studies, University of Twente


For further information or observations, please contact dr. Eugen Popa

Register Now!

You can access the form here (opens Google Forms, no sign-in required).

See you soon!