January 19, 2009

Snowmobiles compete for ‘green’ title

Teams of U.S. engineering students are competing in Michigan to build a quieter, greener snowmobile.

Eighteen teams are registered for the SAE Clean Snowmobile Challenge being held this week at Michigan Technology University near Houghton.

The students took stock snowmobiles and re-engineered them to reduce emissions and noise while maintaining or improving performance, said a statement from the school.

Five of the teams are competing in the zero-emissions division formed in 2006 for electric snowmobiles, said Jay Meldrum, who organized the challenge.

Battery-operated snowmobiles most frequently are used at remote polar research stations where any level of emissions can contaminate ice and air samples taken by scientists, Meldrum said.