Chena Hot Springs, Alaska
Chena Hot Springs is a hot spring, resort, and unincorporated community in the Fairbanks North Star Borough, Alaska, United States, 56.5 miles northeast of Fairbanks near the Chena River State Recreation Area. The resort makes use of the first low-temperature binary geothermal power plant built in Alaska, and is working on several alternative energy projects, including production and use of hydrogen and vegetable oil for fuel. The resort is conducting collaborative experiments in greenhouse production of vegetables with the University of Alaska Fairbanks Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station.
Chena Hot Springs was founded 100 years ago by two gold mining brothers, Robert and Thomas Swan. In 1905, Robert Swan was suffering from rheumatism and needed a place to calm his pain and be comfortable. The two brothers set out to find the hot springs. It took them a little over a month to reach the hot springs after searching for it in Interior Alaska’s harsh landscape. In 1911, twelve small cabins were built to accommodate visitors. The twelve cabins developed, and they became one of the most famous resorts in the interior of Alaska. Chena Hot Springs became so famous that the United States Department of Agriculture sent chemists to analyze the water. The characteristics of the water are very different from other American hot springs.
The coordinates for Chena Hot Springs Alaska are 65'03 N and 146'03 W (65.05, -146.05). The average yearly temperature for the area is −4.9 °C (23.2 °F), with the highest temperature being in July at 20.4 °C (68.7 °F) and the lowest temperature being in January at −31.2 °C (−24.2 °F). Annually the average amount of precipitation is 357 millimetres (14.1 in). The average snowfall amount in Chena Hot Springs is 161.8 centimetres (63.7 in) annually.
Aurora Ice Museum
The purpose of the Ice Museum is to boost the tourism of the resort and showcase the artwork of resident ice artists Steve and Heather Brice. The museum is open throughout the entire year, including the summer, when the temperature can reach up to 90ºF(32ºC). The present museum is made of a steel framework with hollow walls and consists of a great hall and a lounge. Some of the ice sculptures include a gigantic ice tower and life-size jousting knights. One of the rooms even has a non-functioning ice toilet. Visitors are offered the opportunity to enjoy a vodka "appletini" in a hand carved ice glass for an additional fee during the tours which are held daily at 11, 1, 3, 5 and 7 o'clock.
Geothermal Power Plant
Chena Hot Springs Resort uses a geothermal energy plant to generate energy. The resort replaced the diesel generators used in the past with this powerplant since July 2006, and it is successful in reducing the cost from 30 cents/kWh to 7 cents/kWh. The resort owners have future plans in increasing the work output of the powerplant from 200kW to 1MW.
- Newsletter of the International Geothermal Association, Quarterly No. 66 (October - December 2006) page 10[dead link]
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- "County News", National Association of Counties, Vol. 39 No. 10 • May 21, 2007 (page 9)[dead link]
- Alaska Journal of Commerce February 20, 2005 "Chena builds a green-fueled greenhouse"[dead link]
- Chena Hot Springs 2013
- Weatherbase 2014
- Geoheat 2006
- Chena Hot Springs Renewable Energy Center
- Chena Hot Springs Resort
- Chena Hot Springs History
- Ice Museum and Geothermal Power Plant
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