Editor's Note: This is one of three articles on the BioMax25 unit that Winn Ranger District recently began operating. See upcoming Sunday issues for the next two articles.

Imagine the day when every home will be equipped with the equivalent of "Back to the Future"’s Mr. Fusion Home Energy Reactor generator which converts household waste into electrical power.
The year the Mr. Fusion becomes available in the movie trilogy is 2015, just seven years from now. Dr. Les Groom, an enthusiastic scientist at the Kisatchie ranger station near Winnfield, said he and his colleagues are now operating what amounts to the first step to Mr. Fusion, and perhaps even more.
"This is the first step to the Flux Capacitor," said Groom, with more than a twinkle in his eyes, to a group of interested persons at the ribbon cutting ceremony of the Biomass Gasification unit at the Winn Ranger District Office of Kisatchie National Forest. The Flux Capacitor is the key to time travel in the "Back to the Future" trilogy.
He was standing atop a pile of wood chips when he made the statement, wood chips that provide the fuel necessary to power the ranger office, the gasifier unit itself and the pump station with a few kilowatts left over to deposit back onto Entergy's grid for future credit. In all the unilt produces a total of 25 kilowats of electricity an hour.
Though time travel may be far into the future, creating energy with waste products is a reality now.
Basically, the unit is a camp fire and a six cylinder Chevy engine, Groom told those present.
"The BioMax 25 is an innovative, cutting-edge device, which will strengthen (the Winn ranger district’s) environmental, energy and transportation management," according to information provided by the U.S. Forest Service. "In a ground-breaking, first-of-its-kind partnership, the National Forest System, Forest Research and State and Private Forestry (the three branches of the U.S. Forest Service all of which are represented at the Winn station) have developed a program to provide cheap, clean electricity while reducing dangerous forest fuel woody biomass."
Soon, the scientists of Forest Research at the Winn station plan to begin producing synthetic diesel with the unit as well.
But more than anything, the unit will provide a platform from which the scientists can explore a number of issues, including what sorts of gases, at what levels, different types of wood can generate. The answer to this question, and others like it, can change much.
The leaders in the project, Groom, Forest Supervisor Gretta Boley and Field Representative Forrest Oliveria "will act as a catalyst in moving our country away from foreign oil dependency."
That sentiment was spoken by more than one person at the ribbon cutting, including U.S. Representative Rodney Alexander and Commissioner of Agriculture and Forestry Mike Strain, who both addressed the audience before the ribbon cutting.
"It’s foolish to be propelling our automobiles with petroleum when we have the resources here, some of it decaying on the ground, to power our (cars)," said Alexander who went on to explain that Congress is considering a vote to permanently ban off-shore drilling.
"I applaud the efforts that have been made here," he added.
Strain, too, was enthusiastic about the prospects provided by the gasifier.
"Energy independence is absolutely critical for the future of this nation," he said. "Cellulose, that which we don’t eat, is infinite in nature."
Jack McFarland, the President of Winn Parish, and a logger, explained that forestry is second only to oil and gas in generating revenue for the state. Winn Parish, like its neighbors, including Vernon, is heavily forested, and thus has the potential to produce its own energy.
McFarland described similar projects on a much larger scale, explaining that a 100 megawatt facility is in the works in Austin, Texas and in Lufkin a 50 megawatt facility is under construction. In Livingston, Ala. a company is producing millions of gallons of ethanol with a similar unit.
In all, the project cost the Winn Ranger District about $250,000, Groom said. Still left to purchase is the correct sort of wood chipper, another representative said, which might push the price closer to $300,000.