Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?


Clean Power

Renewable Energy Fair at Chena Hot Springs: Geothermal and Hydrogen in the Alaskan Wilderness

The Geothermal power plant powering Chena Hot Springs, Alaska

If you happened to be in Chena, Alaska last weekend, you may have attended the third annual Chena Renewable Energy Fair, chowed on some hot dogs barbecued on the hydrogen-powered grill, toured the the geothermal power plant, or visited the Aurora Ice Museum that’s kept cool in the summer using the patented absorption chiller.

Bernie Karl is all about renewable energy. Proprietor of Chena Hot Springs Resort, located 60 miles northeast of Fairbanks and 33 miles off the grid, Bernie acquired the ramshackle resort in 1998 from the state of Alaska. From the very beginning Bernie’s vision was to run his operation using only the abundant thermal energy of the surrounding hot springs.

Despite having more geothermal resources than any other state in the country, Alaska hadn’t developed any of those resources until Bernie’s geothermal power plant came online in 2006. Developed in partnership with United Technologies Corporation, the patented power plant is the lowest temperature geothermal resource used for commercial power production in the world. A step many hope will spur development for low cost geothermal development throughout Alaska and the world.

Featured in Fred Krupp and Miriam Horn’s book Earth the Sequel: The Race to Reinvent Energy and Stop Global Warming, Bernie is an apparent source of renewable energy himself and a force to be reckoned with. His entrepreneurial frontier spirit has attracted attention, making Chena Hot Springs a test site for the U.S. Department of Energy for future development of geothermal energy.

Bernie’s team at Chena Hot Springs continues to develop ideas in renewable energy at a pace more staid institutions can’t match.

“A big corporation moves slowly, does everything by committee,” says mechanical engineer and space physicist Gwen Holdman, “We just do stuff. If we screw it up, we fix it.”

From ice museums to geothermal power plants to hydrogen hot dogs, Bernie and his crew just keep doing stuff. It’ll be interesting to see what’s on store for next year’s renewable energy fair.

Photo Credit: Popular Mechanics


Appreciate CleanTechnica’s originality? Consider becoming a CleanTechnica Member, Supporter, Technician, or Ambassador — or a patron on Patreon.
Have a tip for CleanTechnica, want to advertise, or want to suggest a guest for our CleanTech Talk podcast? Contact us here.

Written By

is an online publisher, editor, and freelance writer. He is the founder of and the History Blog Project, as well as publisher and site director for the Tom also contributes to numerous environmental blogs, including TriplePundit, Ecopolitology, Sustainablog, and Planetsave.   Tom's work has led him to Europe, Africa, Latin America, Canada, the South Pacific, and across the United States. His home base is San Francisco, California.


You May Also Like

Clean Power

With luck, Algeria will be left with a lot more renewables, storage, transmission, and electrolyzers for their own hydrogen needs, and little money will...

Clean Power

One of India’s leading independent solar power producers, Acme Solar Holdings, has announced ambitious plans to expand its renewable power and green hydrogen portfolio. ...


Why exactly would it be beneficial to the climate for Morocco to take renewable electricity, make hydrogen and products from hydrogen, and ship them...

Clean Transport

By Harry Morgan, Rethink Energy, as abridged by David Waterworth The UK government has launched a £200 million investigation into the future of its...

Copyright © 2021 CleanTechnica. The content produced by this site is for entertainment purposes only. Opinions and comments published on this site may not be sanctioned by and do not necessarily represent the views of CleanTechnica, its owners, sponsors, affiliates, or subsidiaries.