Chena Hot Springs

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Journal Article: Chena Hot Springs

I visited Chena Hot Springs Resort, about 60 miles (100km) northeast of Fairbanks, Alaska, in the summer of 1981and wrote an article on my experience for the Bulletin (Vol. 6,No. 3, Fall, 1981, pp. 23-25). My experience included driving the gravel road from Fairbanks, and in the process, losing a window in my brother-in-law�s car from a passing truck. The site at that time was primitive with few buildings, gas was $2.00 per gallon (about double compared to Fairbanks) and a convention center was on the drawing board. We did enjoy soaking in the various pools. This August, I again visited the resort, with many of my fellow geothermal experts. This time I drove on a paved road all the way from Fairbanks. The occasion was the 1st Annual Renewable Energy Fair and dedication of the low temperature, 200 kW, geothermal binary power plant by the owner Bernie Karl, Governor Frank Murkowski and U.S. Senator Ted Stevens. This plant, built by United Technologies Corporation (UTC) of Hartford, CT (, uses the lowest temperature geothermal resource in the world for power generation - at 165°F (74°C) - and is the first in Alaska. Following the dedication of the power plant, the Alaska Geothermal Working Group held two days of meetings, which included a reception in the Aurora Ice Museum, drinking 'Appletini' from individually hand-carved champagne ice glasses, bartended by Bernie Karl. Much has been added to the Chena Hot Springs Resort since 1981, an ice museum, lodging, expansion of the greenhouse and visits by many Japanese tourists who love to see the Aurora Borealis in the winter and soak in the geothermal waters. A summary of the various projects are described below, and a more detailed article is provided in this issue on the Aurora Ice Museum.

John W. Lund

Published Journal 
Geo-Heat Center Quarterly Bulletin, 2006

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Internet link for Chena Hot Springs

John W. Lund. 2006. Chena Hot Springs. Geo-Heat Center Quarterly Bulletin. 27(3):2-4.