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Staying warm in Alaska – reflecting on geothermal opportunities

Greenhouse in Chena Hot Springs, Alaska (source: flickr/ james keller, creative commons)
Alexander Richter 1 Oct 2018

A blog post with impressions of a visit to Alaska looking at what Canada can learn from the geothermal energy utilisation from low-temperatures resources in the State of Alaska.

In a blog post, Theron Finley a Master student in Geology and Geophysics at the University of Alberta, describes a recent visit to Alaska.

Comparing Canada and Alaska in the context of his interest for geothermal energy, he provides a great overview on why Alaska has been (more) successful in developing geothermal resources than Canada.

As part of his descriptions of visited geothermal hot springs in the state of Alaska, he describes a visit to Chena Hot Springs, as well as Manley and Pilgrim Hot Springs.

Particularly the description of Chena Hot Springs provides a great overview on the farsighted business built around the hot springs there.

Chena Hot Springs not only has the only geothermal power operation facility in the State, but also utilises “waste” water from the plant for connected tourism facilities, greenhouse operations and – labelled by FORBES – “the dumbest business idea of the year (2004)”, the six-room Aurora Ice Hotel, which is now a year-round ice sculpture museum.

He then describes a visit to Manley Hot Springs, which is supposedly the site of the first ever Organic Rankine Engine Cycle facility set up for geothermal energy application – I have not been able to find any details on that, but will keep looking.

A rather interesting write up of a visit and view on the utilisation of low-temperature geothermal resources in Alaska.

Some additional background on Alaska geothermal development from 2007 can be found here (pdf), quite frankly not that much has happened since, unfortunately.

Source: Finley, Theron, Staying warm in Alaska (blog post)