One Meal at a Time


Alessandra Populin


Development support


Can a new cooking-stove help save the planet? Inventor Nat Mulcahy thinks so. One Meal at a Time follows him across the world as he pursues his visionary project: a fuel-efficient cooking stove that he believes can change the lives of millions in the developing world.

Long Synopsis

Nat Mulcahy is a man on a serious mission.

In 2000 he almost died. If he could walk again - he promised himself - he would dedicate his life to developing innovative technologies that would contribute to ending poverty, deforestation and climate change. Just months after his miraculous recovery he had perfected a prototype of a portable cooking stove which can burn for hours with just a few handful of pellets made of any kind of farm scraps.

Half the world’s population relies on wood or coal to meet its most basic energy needs. The constant search for firewood is driving people to starvation in the developing world and turning forestlands into desert.

Nat firmly believes his invention can promote sustainable economic development in even the poorest and most remote communities while also protecting the environment.

Unlike traditional open fires his stove burns a smokeless gas flame through “pyrolysis”. It’s cheap to run, makes people less reliant on firewood, cuts carbon emissions and its only by-product is “biochar”, a powerful ancient fertiliser which once interred stores CO2 sequestered from our atmosphere safely underground for millennia.

Nat’s mission is to make his stove available throughout the developing world, setting up small factories that are locally owned and run so that each community can become self-sufficient in meeting demand.

We follow Mulcahy as he pursues his visionary project and see whether this dirt cheap technology really can help resolve some of the world’s most pressing problems, one meal at a time.