Cleaner Air, One Snowmobile at a Time

Updated: March 26, 2019 05:44 PM

When you think of snowmobiles, you might think about winter and all the fun activities that come with it. But have you thought about what it takes to make your sled a little more environmentally friendly?

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UMD's Clean Snowmobile Team is made up of undergraduate students that have been putting engineering design and project management skills to work to create a prototype sled that cuts down on emissions and runs quieter. 

Team members returned to Duluth on Tuesday following a six-day competition in Houghton, Michigan. Each year, the students get a snowmobile fresh off the factory floor during the fall semester, and begin making their efficiency modifications. 

"We were able to build an outstanding snowmobile, we're all very proud of it," says Mason Todd. He's a senior at UMD and is the team's Exhaust Project Leader. "It handles well, it rides very well, the judges were very impressed. I think overall, we were one of the top competitors there."

Teams from around the world competed, and inspections throughout the competition were done by professional engineers. Teams also showed off their sleds during a 100 mile endurance run, cold start tests, handling and acceleration courses, and technical presentations. 

"The snowmobile has a Razor engine - a four stroke engine out of a Razor 1,000," Todd explained. "That's pretty cool because there aren't a whole lot of snowmobiles built by Polaris that are four stroke. It's pretty unique in nature, and definitely a lot of the other teams at the competition look at it and say "wow, that's quite the creation you guys got there, really well engineered." It's kind of a good pat on the back to see that everybody is really impressed with what we can do here at UMD, and take that home."

"We're all very proud of what we did. We were able to achieve over 150 miles of on-snow calibration and testing before we actually left for competition," says Jon Wallace. He's part of the Systems and Packaging team, and is also the team's Chief Safety Officer. "We were actually able to achieve our highest emission score in the school's history, we were able to achieve a 204.6."

"We're really proud of being able to validate all of our designs before we leave for competition," says Wallace. "And plus, it just gives a lot of good time to go out as friends and buddies and just have fun with our machine."

UMD's team placed seventh overall out of the top 13 teams.

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