The development of a complex system, such as a solar fuels generator, requires much more than just the discovery of a catalyst, or of a photocatalyst, or even of a watersplitting nanoscale construct. It requires a full macroscale object that is embedded in, and forms the basis for, an article of manufacture that can be made at scale, and that can operate safely, cost-effectively, and efficiently over all length and time scales of interest. A highly integrated effort, involving individual research groups, teams of research groups, centralized, focused R&D efforts, and global cooperation is therefore important to realize this goal in a cost-effective, time-effective, and efforteffective fashion. This realization is the most compelling, and in fact the overriding, justification for a systems level approach to the successful development of a technology that enables the direct production, in a globally scalable fashion, of fuels from sunlight by artificial photosynthesis, to provide an important technology option in the pursuit of a globally scalable sustainable energy system.
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