CNN covers the story of Bernie Karl at Chena Hot Springs, Alaska

Alexander Richter 14 Oct 2009

CNN covers the story of Bernie Karl of Chena Hot Springs and his vision for using the same model for similar projects utilizing geothermal energy for heating and power, e.g. at the Peppermill Casino & Resort in Nevada.

A remarkable story that most of the people in the industry know already, made the big media at CNN. The “imagineer” Bernie Karl, as he calls himself is covered in this piece on the station’s website.

“Using imagination to fuel his engineering ambitions, this tenacious thinker and self-starter has figured out a way to generate electricity using water that’s the temperature of a cup of coffee — about 165 degrees Fahrenheit.

“There’s more opportunity now than there has ever been in the history of man, but we have to reinvent ourselves,” Karl said.

Karl was determined to reinvent the way he consumed energy after he and his wife, Connie, purchased the Chena Hot Springs Resort from the state of Alaska in 1998.

“After we purchased the hot spring, I couldn’t believe it, the swimming pool and the hot spring were being heated by diesel fuel, 1,000 gallons every month!” Karl said.

To slash costs and to use resources that were right under his nose, Karl invented a portable geothermal power plant.

In a little more than three years, Karl and his wife have severed the facility’s dependence on diesel fuel and have saved $625,000, he said.”

He says he’s partnered with the Department of Energy to fund half of a $1.4 million exploration project to find and characterize the geothermal resources at Chena Hot Springs, he said.

“It’s a model for what you can do,” said Karl.

Karl developed his tenacity from growing up as the sixth child of 16 siblings on a farm outside of Peoria, Illinois.

He said his parents taught him hard work, how to recycle his clothes and shoes, and how to compost food and farm wastes.

In the late 1970s, Karl was active in gold mining in Alaska’s Central District, and he established the state’s largest recycling facility in 1984, he said.

Many of his ideas stem from finding alternative ways to use and reuse resources he already has at his fingertips.

After acquiring the 400-acre resort, Karl began trapping water from the underground hot springs, which produce enough power to heat the facility’s greenhouses year-round.

Most recently, Karl has turned his invention into a separate business by contracting with Peppermill hotel and casino in Reno, Nevada, to build a similar system there.

His portable geothermal generator units (from Pratt & Whitney/ UTC) cost from $350,000 to $375,000, each with the potential to generate enough power for 250 average American homes per year.”

To read the full article, see link below.

Source: CNN