Geothermal Energy Utilization
Associated with Oil & Gas Development
June 14 – 15, 2011
Southern Methodist University
Bernie Karl was born the sixth of sixteen children and grew up on a farm in Peoria, Illinois. At 20, with itchy feet and a dream of making it big, Bernie ventured north to the Last Frontier. While employed on the trans-Alaska pipeline, he met his wife Connie and in 1984 established K&K Recycling, the largest recycling facility in Alaska. In addition, Bernie and Connie own Kodiak Narrow Cape Lodge, Chena Power, and Chena Hot Springs Resort. Within a week of owning the resort, Bernie drilled the property’s first geothermal well for district heating. In January 2004, the Aurora Ice Museum was built at Chena Hot Springs Resort. It was to be the first year-round ice structure in the world. Unfortunately, it melted that summer, leading Forbes magazine to name it “Dumbest Business Idea of the Year.” Undaunted, the Aurora Ice Museum was rebuilt with new technology in Fall ‘04 and is still standing. Bernie has focused his attention on making Chena Hot Springs a sustainable community by establishing three greenhouses, all of which are heated by geothermal energy. This provides fresh grown produce for the resort’s restaurant even in the cold winter months. He has also constructed and installed the first geothermal power plant in Alaska which provides all of the resort’s electricity and operates on the lowest water temperature of any geothermal power plant in the world, 160°F. Given Bernie’s history in recycling and leading geothermal technology research, he could very well be considered Alaska’s green energy pioneer.
Chena Hot Springs