About Sierra Energy

Sierra Energy is committed to innovation that leads to a zero waste future.

Since 2004, Sierra Energy has focused on the development of FastOx® gasification, a technology that turns trash into energy without burning. This sustainable solution is commercially available to meet the needs of the modern waste industry.

The company continues to advance its technology and test new applications for gasification at the Sierra Energy Research Park in Davis, California. Sierra Energy’s commercial facility is located in Monterey County, California.

Product Development Timeline

  1. FastOx technology acquired


    Mike G. Hart acquires the preliminary technology that leads to the design of the FastOx gasifier. Sierra Energy is formed to develop, test, improve and commercialize the technology.

  2. Research & development of FastOx gasification begins


    Sierra Energy begins initial testing of its prototype at the Renewable Energy Testing Center, an independent laboratory established and funded by the U.S. Department of Defense.

  3. Sierra Energy completes testing

    Spring 2012

    Testing demonstrates that FastOx gasification successfully converts waste into energy-dense syngas and non-leaching inert stone.

  4. The Department of Defense (DoD) awards Sierra Energy a $3 million grant

    Fall 2012

    DoD validates FastOx gasification through the Environmental Security Technology Certification Program. Sierra Energy is awarded $3.0 MM to demonstrate its turn-key FastOx Pathfinder to provide secure, distributed electricity and low-carbon fuels across DoD facilities, including remote forward operating bases.

  5. Sierra Energy receives $5 million grant from California Energy Commission


    California validates FastOx gasification with $5 million to demonstrate the production of transportation fuels, in order to further California’s progress towards waste-to-fuels.

  6. ATSI signs on to assist Sierra Energy with engineering the FastOx Pathfinder


    Sierra Energy engages blast furnace and renewable energy experts ATSI, as the engineering firm for the FastOx Pathfinder.

  7. Sierra Energy breaks ground at Fort Hunter Liggett


    Sierra Energy begins site construction with the installation of structure improvements, and the pouring of concrete pads for equipment delivery.

  8. The Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) awards $100k for hydrogen production from waste


    The DLA awards $100,000 grant to Sierra Energy to explore the production of low-cost hydrogen fuels from waste at Fort Hunter Liggett.

  9. System modules production begins

    March 2016

    Andy J. Egan Corp. begins the fabrication of the auxiliary system modules.

  10. FastOx Pathfinder arrives at Fort Hunter Liggett

    December 2016

    Components arrive at Fort Hunter Liggett in Monterey County, California from Andy J. Egan Corp.

  11. Commissioning begins at Fort Hunter Liggett

    May 2017

    Operation begins at Fort Hunter Liggett, converting post-recycled municipal solid waste to electricity and renewable diesel. Sierra Energy makes FastOx technology available for commercial application.


Mike G. Hart, President & CEO
Mr. Hart, President and CEO of Sierra Energy, has over 24 years of active entrepreneurial experience in forming and running industrial companies with a proven track record of success. Mr. Hart has served as Sierra’s President since he founded the company in 2004. He also serves as President of Sierra Railroad, a company he has expanded from four employees to over 140 since 1994 when he started the company.Hart was named an “Environmental Hero” by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for his work in biodiesel and was recently named a “Champion of Change” by the White House.

Prior to joining Sierra and Sierra Railroad Company, Hart acted as a management consultant for FMC, NASA (Mars Mission), TRW, Boeing, McDonnell Douglas, GMMVO, ARS, and Hay Systems, and worked as a developer for Apple Computers Federal Systems. He led the platform development for the Intelligence All Source Analysis System for the DOD, DIA, CIA in a joint project with Steve Job’s NeXT Computers. Hart has also created a variety of software tools for the analysis of future weapon systems and operational impacts, including developing advanced weapons systems for the Army, Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps. He holds a B.A. in political science from the University of California at Davis and a Stanford Advanced Management Program Certificate.


Torgny Nilsson, Executive Vice President, Secretary & General Counsel
Mr. Nilsson has been with Sierra Energy since 2004 and has extensive intellectual property, corporate governance, and corporate finance experience. Prior to joining Sierra, Mr. Nilsson worked for various law firms and companies including Thelen Reid & Priest LLP, Gartenberg, Jaffe, Gelfand & Stein LLP, Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati, and NASA. After earning two B.A. degrees from the University of California, Davis, Mr. Nilsson received his law degree from Santa Clara University School of Law, where he was an editor of the Santa Clara Law Review and received the American Jurisprudence Award. Mr. Nilsson has also completed studies in comparative law at Magdalen College, Oxford University.


Rob White, Chief Strategist
Mr. White brings with him a wealth of knowledge and more than 25 years of professional experience. This experience includes executive leadership and management positions in public administration, the nonprofit sector, and the private sector. Most recently, Rob served as chief innovation officer for the City of Davis. Before that, he served as the director of economic development for the City of Livermore while simultaneously holding the post of CEO of The i-GATE innovation Hub.


Daniel Mark Dodd, Vice President of Engineering
Mr. Dodd has been working for Sierra Energy since 2007 and has been responsible for the R&D and commercialization of the FastOx gasification technology platform. Mr. Dodd earned a Masters of Engineering, with first class honors, in aerospace and mechanical engineering from the University of Bristol in England, with joint studies at the University of California, Davis. Prior to joining Sierra Energy, Mr. Dodd worked for Goodrich Aerospace, The European Space Agency (ESA), Atkins Engineering Consultants and TGL (later acquired by Alstom).


Michael Kleist, VP of Business Development
Michael brings more than 15-years’ experience in building revenue streams for internet platforms. Prior to joining Sierra Energy, he was the founder and COO of Tradesparq.com, a B2B platform focused on international trade that he helped grow to hundreds of thousands of members worldwide and millions in revenue. He also has served as General Manager at Globalsources.com, a NASDAQ-listed company also focused on online B2B global trade.


Paul Gruber, VP of External Partnerships
Mr. Gruber leads partnership development for Sierra Energy and brings over 12 years of management experience in academic, non-profit, and start-up organizations. Most recently he served as executive director of the Sustainable Transportation Energy Pathways public-private consortium at UC Davis. Mr. Gruber completed an MBA and MSc in sustainable business systems at the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor’s Erb Institute, where he helped launch several sustainable energy and water start-ups.


Mark Sargent, Chief Financial Officer
Mr. Sargent brings to Sierra Energy over three decades of experience leading the finance and administrative functions in rapidly growing companies. Prior to joining Sierra Energy, Mark spent over 25 years in Silicon Valley working for small to medium-sized technology companies, which included two successful initial public offerings, and one leveraged ESOP transaction. More recently, Mr. Sargent has worked with a variety of successful internet retail and BPO companies in the Sacramento valley. He graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Accounting from California State University, Chico.


Russell McGinnis, Chief Information Officer
Mr. McGinnis has extensive experience at building and supporting enterprise software solutions. Most recently, he served as Technical Architect and Development Lead for an online community serving the varying needs of veterinarians worldwide. Mr. McGinnis has worked on several high-value projects with clients such as Honda and Toyota in the USA, and with numerous large financial companies in the UK such as GE Information Systems and Deutsche Morgan Grenfell. Mr. McGinnis earned a Bachelors Degree with Honors in Electrical Engineering from the University of Abertay in Scotland.


Lisa Sorvari, Director, Human Resources
Ms. Sorvari’s background includes over twenty years of experience working in for-profit, non-profit and government organizations. She earned a Bachelor's degree in Business Administration with a concentration in human resources from Sacramento State University and is currently earning a Master's degree in Human Resources Management. She holds Senior Professional HR and California Certifications from the HR Certificate Institute and a Senior Certified Professional certification from the Society for HR Management.