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

The author – Steven Hermans