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Queen’s team designs zero-emission snowmobile for Arctic research

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Hoping to help researchers in the Arctic, the Queen’s Fuel Cell Team has been working for two years to build a zero emission snowmobile. The group’s design will be tested next week at the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) Clean Snowmobile Challenge at Michigan Technological University in the zero-emission category.

The team designed the snowmobile to meet current industry guidelines. The Queen’s snow machine, which could be used to help atmospheric researchers working in the Arctic, is being built using only batteries for power.

“We are a student-led engineering design team that advocates for the adoption and widespread use of sustainable technologies,” says Director of Operations Danny Lloyd (Appl Sci ’16). “This is the first year Queen’s has sent a team to the competition.”

The snowmobile is electric and the first hurdle for the team is just passing the safety inspection before entering the main portion of the competition.

“No rookie team has ever passed the safety inspection, and only two teams passed it last year,” says Mr. Lloyd. “The main challenge is working with the low voltage and high voltage systems on the sled to make sure they are completely separate and fire- and water-proof. We also have to make sure all structural changes are safe.”

The Clean Snowmobile Challenge’s zero-emission category is sponsored by the National Science Foundation. The Foundation uses electric snowmobiles while conducting atmospheric research in pristine Arctic locations including a research station in Greenland.

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