Can a flame change the lives of millions of people in the developing world and in the long run help save our planet?


Half the world’s population relies on wood or coal to meet its most basic energy needs. To cook, to heat, they cut down trees daily, preparing their meals on an open fire.

Cheap fuel - easy access to energy - has been key to our economic development. The lack of it explains why 3 billion people still live like we did in the Stone Age.

And yet our model of economic development can’t be the answer. The fossil fuels that made our wealth and wellbeing possible at great cost to the environment are past their peak - we must urgently think of alternatives - while the fuel that makes mere survival possible in the developing world is increasingly at risk. Many African nations are reaching ‘peak wood’ with just four, five, maybe ten years’ worth of wood left. Then what?

One solution - a piece of the puzzle of our collective future - lurks behind the imposing term ‘pyrolysis’. Coined from the Greek elements pyr "fire" and lysis "separating" it’s the thermochemical decomposition of organic material at high temperatures with little or no oxygen. It’s been used for hundreds of years for turning wood into charcoal but recently scientists, engineers and amateur have rediscovered it as a source of renewable energy  – and possibly much more.



Winner of Puma Creative Catalyst Award
Financed by Piemonte Film Commission
Financed by Media Single Project Development
Financed by Mibac - Italian Ministry of Culture

download "Reinventing Fire.pdf"