Biomax in Mount Shasta


The Siskiyou Opportunity Center (SOC) and the Shasta Energy Group (SEG) invite our community to a groundbreaking ceremony for the Biomax 50 demonstration project on October 10th 2003 from 3 to 6 pm at SOC in Mount Shasta.

The ceremony is in anticipation of the Biomax 50, a Small Modular Biomass System (SMBS) 50Kw biomass gasification unit. The Biomax will convert woodchips to heat and electricity for operations at SOC, and will be the first grid-connected biomass gasification generator in the US.

"We are getting the site ready. We should be able to drive the unit in, plug it in and have it running by this time next year" said Larry Montgomery, Executive Director of SOC.

The project represents an abundance of benefits:
Clean Renewable Energy production,
Providing locally produced energy into the national system,
Creating fire resistant forests through thinning,
Community development through education,
Economic development utilizing wood waste,
Cleaner air due to less open-air slash-burning,
Advancement of a promising new technology for rural communities,
Creating very positive image of our area, and
SOC employees with developmental disabilities will operate the system.

SEG and SOC are working with area Fire Safe Councils, the Hammond Ranch Landowner's Association, the Shasta Forest Landowners Association as well as other private landowners, and the USFS to procure fuel for the duration of the pilot project. The unit will also gasify waste wood chips from SOC operations.

The Biomax 50 project is made possible through collaborative efforts with the Siskiyou Opportunity Center (SOC, the project host site), the Shasta Energy Group (SEG, project coordinator), the National Renewable Energy Laboratories (NREL, Biomax design), Community Power Corporation (CPC, Biomax manufacturer), California Energy Commission (CEC, funding), the US Forest Service (USFS, funding), and Pacific Power (grid intertie). Representatives of the project partners will be available to answer questions at the groundbreaking.

The data collected from the project will demonstrate the viability of small-scale biomass systems and study the infrastructure needed to utilize residential, public and private forest waste materials as a renewable energy source. Economic development opportunities related to biomass utilization are also being studied.

As part of the community education and outreach for the Biomax project,
SOC will host Turtle Bay Exploration Park's new Mobile Exhibit and Learning Center "All about Forest Management" on Thursday, Friday and Saturday October 9th, 10th and 11th. Principally aimed at students in grades 6 through 9, Sustainable Forests - Sustainable Communities Exhibition brings the message of good forest management practices, and the link between healthy, sustainable forests and thriving rural communities to the next generation of forest users and voters.

Exhibits installed in the 48-foot-long trailer are designed to teach students concepts relating to forest resources and management, forests and ecosystem balance, importance of sustainable forestry to local communities, and the role of catastrophic fires in forests past and future. Adults will also find the activities and information fascinating.

SEG and SOC anticipate hosting several hundred 6th-9th grade students from Sisson Elementary and Mt. Shasta High School. Students will tour the Sustainable Forests - Sustainable Communities Exhibition as well as the woodshops and recycling center at SOC. An additional tour station will include discussion of wood products and careers in natural resources. This will also be a good opportunity for community members, families, and home-school groups to tour the exhibit.

Funding for the Sustainable Forests - Sustainable Communities Exhibition is provided by the Surdna Foundation. Pepsi of Mt. Shasta is providing transportation of the exhibit from Redding.

The Siskiyou Opportunity Center is a public-benefit nonprofit organization providing vocational training and employment for developmentally disabled adults. SOC has been serving the community for 33 years.

The Shasta Energy Group is a public-benefit nonprofit organization facilitating renewable energy demonstration and sustainability through community education and dialogue. More information about the SMBS project can be found on the SEG website at

Contacts for information:
Meadow Barr, Exec Director SEG, 926-3363
Larry Montgomery, Exec Director SOC, 926-4698

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