Teams challenged to create more efficient snowmobiles

Teams challenged to create more efficient snowmobiles

HOUGHTON — It’s a good thing there is still plenty of snow in the Keweenaw because several teams are taking part in a snowmobile competition this week. ABC 10’s Keweenaw Bureau Reporter Rick Allen has the story.

The goal of the SAE Clean Snowmobile Challenge is to design a cleaner, quieter and more efficient winter recreation machine.
Teams from 21 schools have entered the competition to do just that.

It’s the 17th annual event and the 14th time it’s been hosted by Michigan Tech. But with temperatures pushing 50 degrees, few of those years have been warmer than this one.

MTU Mechanical Engineering student Nick Brodowski said, “The lack of snow being thrown back onto the heat exchanger of the snowmobile can prevent the cooling system from actually cooling the coolant for the motor, and then we can have overheating issues. We didn’t really plan for this, so it’s kind of a shot in the dark to see how well we’ll do.”

The competition begins with the Endurance Run to Copper Harbor. Other events include testing for emissions and noise…and things won’t be as easy as years past.

SAE Clean Snowmobile Challenge Lead Organizer Jay Meldrum said, “The rules are stiffer this year, we’ve made it tougher in the emissions and the noise (events) to win; so we’ve upped the ante a little bit, upped the bar. We’re giving them an ethanol–based fuel that they’ve never seen before and they don’t know what it is so they have to deal with that.”

The public is welcome to see the snowmobiles up close and talk to the teams at the Copper County Mall Wednesday at 8pm.