Requirements concerning the construction of a minimal photosynthetic design cell with direct coupling of water-splitting photosynthesis and H2 production are discussed in the present paper. Starting from a cyanobacterial model cell, Synechocystis PCC 6803, potentials and possible limitations are outlined and realization strategies are presented. In extension, the limits of efficiency of all major biological components can be approached in a semi-artificial system consisting of two electrochemically coupled half-cells without the physiological constraints of a living cell.

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