Seaweeds are a valuable, underused resource. It is my belief that in a future bio-based, carbon-negative economy, seaweeds will have a larger role to play than they currently do.
To achieve that future, a lot of barriers need to be overcome in every aspect of the value chain: fundamental science, regulations, investment, farming and harvesting, distribution, processing, applications, certifications and conservation.
The goal of Phyconomy is to improve the flow of information between
- the different parts of the value chain
- academia, business, investors and government
- different parts of the world.
If you would like to get in touch, send an e-mail to [email protected].
A bit of history
Seaweeds had caught my attention in 2019. I had been thinking about the economics of ecosystem restoration for some time and seaweeds felt like a unique place where ecosystem restoration could potentially pay for itself within the current capitalist framework. It felt like this could be a new interest for me after I had exhausted my curiosity about Central Asia, running a travel guide/booking platform for the region for nearly a decade.
2020-2021: the start
With the collapse of travel in 2020, I suddenly had a lot of time on my hands to work on something new. I knew absolutely nothing about seaweeds, but I had a strong desire to learn and share what I found out. If I had these questions, there must have been others out there with the same problems. Maybe I could help us all out. It was worth a try.
I started the newsletter and the seaweed database in late 2020 as ways to collate and curate information about the seaweed industry, with a focus on the business side of things. In 2021, I received a grant from the ClimateWorks Foundation to seriously expand the database.
At the end of 2021, I published my first State of the Seaweed Industry based on that research.
2022-2023: Conferences, consulting, travel
The work on the newsletter and the State of the Industry led to a number of consulting assignments in 2022 and 2023 for companies in materials science and FMCG, NGOs and an MDB.
I spoke at various conferences. I continued to write the newsletter and travelled for research to Ireland, Sweden, Norway, France, US, Morocco, Tanzania, South Africa, South Korea, India and the Philippines.
Phyconomy has been referenced in
- newspapers like Financial Times (UK), Washington Post (US), Semafor (US), The Ken (ID), Yourstory (IN), The Fish Site (UK)
- academic papers by the likes of Carlos Duarte and Dorte Krause-Jensen in Nature Sustainability
- policy papers like that of Seaweed for Europe, the World Bank’s report on new seaweed markets, and various EU Blue Bioeconomy policy papers (eg. here and here).
- Investment research like Standard Chartered’s seaweed investment analysis.