Arctic Field Projects

Project Title: Participant Support for the Zero Emissions Category of the Clean Snowmobile Challenge (Award# 1062619)

PI: Meldrum, Jay (
Phone: (906) 487.3178 
Institute/Department: Michigan Technological University, Keweenaw Research Center 
IPY Project?
Funding Agency: US\Federal\NSF\GEO\OPP\ARC\ARE
Program Manager: Mr. Peter West (
Discipline(s): | Education and Outreach | Instrument Development\Appropriate Technologies for Polar Regions |

Project Web Site(s):

Science Summary:
The Keweenaw Research Center (KRC) of Michigan Tech University (MTU) has hosted and will continue to host the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) Clean Snowmobile Challenge (CSC) event for the next three years at its 500-acre test track near Houghton, Michigan. University teams from across the US and Canada compete for the title of cleanest and quietest snowmobile. This grant encourages university teams to participate in the challenge by reimbursing travel expenses and other participant costs associated with the competitions’ Zero Emissions category. Conventional snowmobiles are suitable as transportation in extreme polar locations; however, due to their higher carbon emissions, they are less suitable where their output would skew the research results. The Zero Emission category of CSC challenges undergraduate students to look for solutions to this problem. In doing so they learn the needs of the polar research program and they also learn about electrification of transportation vehicles, a timely topic as we search for alternatives to the use of fossil fuels for energy. The SAE Clean Snowmobile Challenge provides a venue for students to search for solutions to the needs of the NSF's arctic research effort.At the same time, it provides a conduit for public dissemination of the work of the polar program.

Logistics Summary:
This project continues NSF award 0808798 and supports travel and participation expenses for teams competing in the zero emissions category of the Clean Snowmobile Challenge (CSC) from 2012 - 2014. In addition, each year one team in the zero-emissions category may be invited to demonstrate its vehicle technology and field test its snowmobile at Summit Station. This opportunity gives the students first-hand knowledge of the conditions under which the snowmobile must operate. Each year beginning in 2012, one student team member may be selected to visit Summit Station for about a week. The student will introduce the vehicle to the Summit community and also tour the facilities and the experiments at the station. The snowmobile may remain after the student's departure, operating for the duration of the field season before it is returned to the home institution. The zero emission snowmobile is used at Summit Station to access the satellite camp and other 'clean air' sectors. This allows researchers to quickly, efficiently and safely access their sites without compromising data collection. (No participant traveled to Summit in 2014).

For each team member who is invited to Summit Station, CPS will provide shipping for the snowmachine, participant travel, and user days at Summit and Kangerlussuaq. The PI will arrange and pay for all other logistics through the grant.
SeasonField SiteDate InDate Out#People
2012Greenland - Kangerlussuaq05 / 14 / 2012 05 / 25 / 20121
2012Greenland - Summit05 / 16 / 2012 05 / 17 / 20121
2013Greenland - Kangerlussuaq05 / 29 / 2013 06 / 08 / 20131
2013Greenland - Summit05 / 31 / 2013 06 / 07 / 20131
2015Greenland - Kangerlussuaq06 / 26 / 2015 07 / 17 / 20151
2015Greenland - Summit06 / 28 / 2015 07 / 15 / 20151

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