Denali Princess Wilderness Lodge Preserves National Park with LFC biodigester

2022-07-19
Outside view of Denali Wilderness Lodge cabins

DENALI, AK — Denali Princess Wilderness Lodge is located in Denali, Alaska, the highest mountain peak in North America. It sits a mile away from the entrance to the Denali National Park and Preserve. Denali Princess Wilderness Lodge is a hotel subsidiary of Princess Cruise. It has 663 rooms with a capacity of nearly 1200 guests and spans many buildings. The resort is home to multiple restaurants, such as King Salmon Restaurant, Grizzly Burger, Lynx Creek Pizza & Pub, and Fannie Q’s Saloon, which serve breakfast, lunch, and dinner. 

Due to its remote location, Denali National Park is one of the last remaining places in the world that has remained relatively untouched by pollution and contaminants. It spans six million acres (2.4 Mha) of protected, wild land and has the cleanest air in the United States. Nature preservation is of utmost importance to maintain the livelihood, lifestyle, and tourism of Alaska. Denali Princess Wilderness Lodge chose the LFC biodigester as its primary solution for the disposal of food waste due to its low impact on utilities and environment. 

In 2021, the resort purchased an LFC-200 biodigester and installed it in the kitchen of the King Salmon Restaurant. The biodigester from Power Knot allows Denali to sustainably and efficiently dispose of food waste while minimizing the impact on the surrounding environment.

Protecting North America’s last wild frontier

Denali National Park is home to a variety of wildlife including caribou, moose, wolves, bison, reindeer, bald eagles, and grizzly bears. Despite strict mandates that protect the multitude of wildlife habitats and ecosystems, Alaska is facing the impending adverse effects of climate change.

According to the EPA, the average temperature across Alaska has increased by approximately 3°F (1.5°C) over the past 60 years. Climate change has caused increasingly drastic changes to the Alaskan ecosystem. Lakes have evaporated due to warmer temperatures and algae bloom. Lichen, an important winter food source for caribou, have been replaced with shrubs. Caribou are the primary food source for bears, wolves, and other predators in the Alaskan region. The negative impact of global warming presents a butterfly effect on the delicate balance of the Alaskan ecosystem.

When food waste is not properly disposed of, the nutrients do not return to the earth. Instead, it decomposes and rots, adding methane, nitrogen, and other greenhouse gasses into the atmosphere. The effects of food waste directly contribute to global warming which in turn, adversely affects the last remaining safe havens for wildlife.

Over the last few years, there has been growing awareness around food in Alaska. In 2018, the Alaskan delegation passed HB 186, a bill designed to increase food donation. In 2020, the Food Waste Committee was initiated by the Alaska Food Policy Council. 

Princess treatment of food waste

The Denali Princess Wilderness Lodge is one of many hotel subsidiaries of Princess Cruise and Carnival Corporation & plc. Carnival has hundreds of biodigesters onboard various cruise lines. On cruise ships, biodigesters process food waste and convert it into water that can be safely discharged into sewage systems. Having worked with Power Knot previously, Carnival recommended the LFC biodigester to the Denali Princess Wilderness Lodge as a premier food waste digester that would fit the facility’s unique needs. Composting was not possible due to the cold climate in winter. The smell of compost could attract wildlife, might be unpleasant for visitors, and would require high upkeep. Other food waste solutions such as dehydration, grinding, and incineration would cause highly detrimental effects to surrounding areas.

However, a biodigester could properly dispose of food waste generated from lodge and restaurant activities without impacting the environment. Any food waste digested onsite in the machine and discharged into the sewage system. Although the LFC-200 biodigester was purchased in 2021, the Denali Princess Wilderness Lodge was closed for two seasons because of Covid. The president of Power Knot, Iain Milnes, personally attended the commissioning of the biodigester in June 2022. The food waste diverted from the landfill is a small step in maintaining conservation of the Alaskan wilderness amidst growing tourist and global warming issues.

At the commissioning of the LFC biodigester, Bonnie Westlund, General Manager of the resort explained, “We acquired the machine first and foremost to save the environment.” Bonnie added, “The LFC biodigester comes with a good reputation from our sister cruise companies.”

Subsequent to its installation, the LFC biodigester has been able to keep up with all the food waste generated by the multiple restaurants on site. The machine will be shut down each winter because the temperature typically reaches −23°C (−9°F), and the tourists are surprisingly absent then.

Iain Milnes commented, “This is a great usage for an LFC biodigester and a testament to its cost effectiveness, where it is used only for half a year. Power Knot will assist the resort each summer to turn the machine on each season.”

About Denali Princess Wilderness Lodge

Denali Princess Wilderness Lodge is located in Denali, Alaska, the highest mountain peak in North America. It sits a mile away from the entrance to the Denali National Park and Preserve. Denali Princess Wilderness Lodge is a hotel subsidiary of Princess Cruise. It has 663 rooms spanning across multiple buildings.

Industry: Hospitality

Location: United States