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.

A bit of history

Seaweeds had caught my attention in 2019. I had for some time been thinking about the economics of ecosystem restoration and the need for more biomass if fossil fuels were to be phased out. Seaweeds felt like a solution with a lot of upside and relatively little downside (I have learnt a lot since). I wanted to be by the ocean after spending nearly a decade running a travel guide/booking platform for land-locked Central Asia.

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


Consulting: If you have an interesting question to do with seaweeds that involves research, interviews and synthesis, I might be able to help you.

Strategic communications: Social license to operate is mission critical. You don’t have that? You don’t have a business. I work together with the excellent people at Hornbeam & Co to enhance the dialogue between your company and the various stakeholders that surround your business, and align internal and external communications. They bring the strategy, I add the seaweed context.

M&A referrals and investment advice: I don’t know anything about finance but I have on occasion connected people.

Supply chain partnerships: Are you looking for a new company to buy from, sell to or partner with? I might be able to help.


If you would like to get in touch, please send an e-mail to [email protected].

The author – Steven Hermans