What's New at Chena Hot Springs...

December 14th, 2007

Chena Hot Springs awarded NSF grant to support hydrogen research

Chena Hot Springs was recently awarded a $100,000 grant through the NSF Small Business Innovation Program.  This grant will support ongoing work at Chena on hydrogen production and use, as well planning for possible future initiatives.

Chena is currently working on a project to generate hydrogen to mix with propane, which is currently used onsite for cooking and clothes drying. 

For more information on Chena's hydrogen project, click here.


October 18th, 2007

Chena Hot Springs geothermal power plant wins an R&D 100 Award

Chena Hot Springs and UTC are joint recipients of a 2007 R&D 100 Award from R&D Magazine and the Department of Energy.  These awards are given to the 100 top research and development breakthroughs in the country, across all disciplines. 

The awards ceremony was held on October 18th in the Grand Ballroom of Chicago's Navy Pier.

For more information on the R&D 100 Awards, click here.


June 25th, 2007

Chena Hot Springs power plant back online after fire 

 After suffering a fire in the building that houses the geothermal power plant on May 10th, 2007 which was caused by welding sparks, the plant was shut down to repair damage to control and electric wiring.  ORC2 is now back online at full capacity, and ORC1 is expected to be operating within the next 10 days. 

To read a press release about the fire, click here

For more information on the power plant and to see pictures, click here


June 15th, 2007

Chena Hot Springs is hosting the 2nd Annual Chena Renewable Energy Fair on August 18th


 The theme for the 2007 Fair is:  From Hot Water to Hydrogen, and the event will mark the ground breaking of the first hydrogen fueling station in Alaska.  Join us at Chena Hot Springs on August 18th for a day of tours, presentation, and free food with activities for the whole family.  Transportation is free via shuttle bus from Fairbanks!

For more information, click here.


April 26th, 2007

Chena Hot Springs Hosts the 2007 Alaska Envirothon.  Chena Hot Springs is committed to educating Alaska's youth about sustainable development, renewable energy and energy efficiency.  Therefore, Chena has hosted and sponsored the Alaska State Envirothon for the past 3 years.  Students from all over the State participate and compete for the honor of representing Alaska at the U.S. Canon Envirothon.  Thanks to Al Poindexter, Cassandra Stalzer, and Jeff Werner for helping to organize the biggest Envirothon ever in Alaska, with 12 teams and over 100 students competing from all over the state!

    Click Here to view pictures of the event

Think you know something about renewable energy?  Here is the test and special problem the students were assigned during 2 days of testing:

    Renewable Energy Test

    Renewable Energy Special Problem

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December 26th, 2006

Chena Hot Springs is excited to announce the second ORC generator is online and producing 230kW gross (200kW net).  The second unit uses a dual condenser system with an air-cooled condenser used during the winter months to take advantage of the extreme temperatures (a balmy -25F today in Fairbanks).  In the summer, the unit will use a water-cooled condenser identical to the first ORC unit.  This allows for maximum efficiency and flexibility in all conditions. 

For more pictures of the system, including the air cooled condenser, click here.   




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December 14th, 2006

Chena Hot Springs, UTRC, and UTC Power were co-recipients of the Project of the Year Award in the renewables category from Power Engineering Magazine.  The award was announced at the annual PowerGen conference in Orlando Florida.  On hand to receive the award were Bruce Biederman (UTRC), Gwen Holdmann (Chena), Bernie and Connie Karl (owners, Chena), and Mike Vukovinsky (UTC Power).  The project will be featured in the January issue of Power Engineering Magazine.

Chena Hot Springs also received a Green Power Leadership Award from EPA and DOE in San Francisco on December 4th.  Thanks to Rebecca Garrett from the Alaska Energy Authority for nominating us for this award!   




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November 9th, 2006

Chena Hot Springs is excited to announce the first ORC power generation unit has logged over 2000 hours and displaced $60,000 in diesel fuel to date.  The second ORC unit arrived at Chena in late October and is being installed by the Chena Power team.  This second unit will be air cooled during the winter months to take advantage of the extreme cold conditions to improve efficiency of the system.  During the summer, the unit will switch over to a water cooled condenser, just like our first ORC.  To the left is a picture of both ORC's installed side-by-side in our power plant.     




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August 20th, 2006

Chena Hot Springs 1st Annual Renewable Energy Fair was a resounding success.  Over 1200 people came for  workshops, tours, and the grand opening of our geothermal power plant.  Whether rain or shine, people are fired up about renewable energy. On August 20th, they showed it!

Click here to read front page coverage of the event in the Fairbanks Daily News Miner

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August 10th, 2006

Chena Hot Springs/Chena Power and United Technologies would like to announce the successful commissioning and startup of the first geothermal power plant in Alaska. This project represents a major milestone in the utilization of low temperature geothermal resources.

Please join us on August 20th for the official ribbon cutting ceremony and dedication of this power plant. We are hosting the 1st Annual Chena Renewable Energy Fair on August 20th to celebrate our grand opening. The Fair is free of charge and offers workshops, site and project tours, vendors, and free food and transportation from Fairbanks. Join us on August 20th! 

The Chena Hot Springs geothermal power plant is currently operating as the base load for the site, and United Technologies representatives are on hand completing performance tests by varying the hot and cold water flow rates. The power plant has been running flawlessly, and is running off 162.5F hot water from a 700ft deep well. The cooling water source is from a cold water well at a higher elevation than the power plant, and is delivered via siphon (gravity feed). This means no pump needed to move the cold water through the power plant, reducing the parasitic load on the plant.

Chena Hot Springs would like to thank our partners in this project, including: UTC Power, United Technologies Research Center, Carrier Refrigeration, the Department of Energy, Alaska Energy Authority & AIDEA, and The Denali Commission. We hope to see you on August 20th!

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July 29th, 2006

Chena Hot Springs installs wind monitoring site on nearby ridge to monitor local wind speed and direction.  We are grateful to the hard work from our volunteer installation crew, who put in 2 tough days to complete the installation.  They are (from L to R):  Cliff Dolchok (AEA), Larry (Chena Hot Springs), Mia Devine (AEA), Amy Fish (REAP), Kat Keith (Chena Hot Springs), Ashish Agrawal (UAF)(from L to R) 

For updated information about the project, click here



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July 23rd, 2006

Chena Hot Springs gets front page coverage in the Fairbanks Daily News Miner for our Geothermal Power Plant Projects ...

Click here to read the text of the article

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July 10th, 2006

Bernie Karl is scheduled to testify in Washington DC in front of the US Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources tomorrow at 2:30pm in support of the US Department of Energy Geothermal Program.  To view a copy of his testimony, click here

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July 8th, 2006

First United Technologies 200kW ORC Unit arrives at Chena, click here to view pictures!

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June 23rd, 2006

June 23rd ... First 200kW geothermal power plant module shipped from the United Technologies Research Center to Chena Hot Springs! 


UTC team including Bruce Biederman (project Leader) on far left


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Week of June 19th, 2006

This Friday the first of our two 200 kW geothermal power plant modules will be shipped from United Technologies in Connecticut!!!  To prepare for this, we are busy completing the pipeline from the production well to the power plant site, and putting the finishing touches on the power plant building.  We also got our new solar fountain up and running!!!

The New Production Well (Well #7)

Our new production well is 710 ft deep and is able to produce water at 173F.  Our driller, Arctic Drilling Inc., has just finished cementing the well. 

Infiltration Gallery

To produce power from a geothermal resource we are using a binary cycle.  This requires heat (from the production well) to evaporate an insolated refrigerant (134a) which has a low boiling point.  In order to condense the refrigerant, cold water needs to be piped through the power plant condensers.  This water will be coming from an infiltration gallery about 500 yards away from the power plant. 

Well Testing

Another challenge we face is to find a well which will allow us to inject over 500 gpm of water back into the geothermal reservoir.  To determine the feasibility of this numerous tests are done.  A static log involves dropping an instrument into the well at 2-4 meter increments.  From this instrument we track temperature and pressure.  We compare this static log to the injection log.  For an injection log we try to pump as much water as possible back into the well for a prolonged period.  Then once again, temperature and pressure is recorded.  During these injection tests we also monitor several other wells simultaneously to see what effect the injection has on other parts of the reservoir. 

Here is an example of a Static Log:


Here is an example of an Injection Log:


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