Greener and Cleaner: Building a Better Snowmobile

Institution: Michigan Technological University
Funders (28)
Views (18)

Why This Project Is Important 

Designing for the environment is one of the most important factors when engineering any new vehicle—trucks, motorcycles, off-road vehicles (and snowmobiles) included. Noise and gaseous emissions are regulated by the Environmental Protection Agency, all while consumers require increasing levels of fuel efficiency. This project requires future engineers to creatively meet these demands—balancing environmental concerns with efficiency optimization.

Project Description 

The Clean Snowmobile Challenge (CSC)—held annually on Michigan Technological University's campus—is a competition-based educational program with a goal of exposing young students from engineering, business, and marketing curriculum to a complex design project. In addition to learning the environmental concerns that vehicle manufacturers must use as design constraints, the project requires organization, planning, and marketing skills to complete successfully. Teams complete technical papers describing new ways to improve snowmobile noise and emissions levels. To date, more than 3,000 students have participated, and 50 papers have been written—with the snowmobile industry taking notice and producing better designs. Many now-commonplace snowmobile technologies were introduced at CSC events. This is the only green snowmobile competition that provides a real-world, hands-on vehicle platform to display participant ideas and solutions. Your donations will help us establish awards for categories such as:

  • lowest noise;
  • lowest gaseous emissions;
  • innovation;
  • best design;
  • sportsmanship;
  • safety; or
  • fuel economy.


The 2020 Clean Snowmobile Challenge will be held March 9-14, 2020.

Meet the Researcher

Jay Meldrum

Jay S. Meldrum is the Executive Director of Michigan Tech's Keweenaw Research Center (KRC)and and is the Executive Director of Sustainability for the University. KRC is a soft-money research arm of Michigan Tech University and employs approximately 30 scientists and engineers to provide a wide range of applied research services to clients in government and industry. Research expenditures of KRC are approximately $8 MM annually.
The U.S. Army Tank-automotive and Armaments Command (TACOM) is the Keweenaw Research Center's primary sponsor, with several active R&D contracts now under way. Projects involve vehicle mobility studies in rough terrains and snow on the Center's 900 acre proving grounds.
Meldrum is an active member of the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) and has served on several committees and boards including the The Board of Directors (2014-2016). Meldrum is the lead organizer for the SAE Clean Snowmobile Challenge, a Collegiate Design Series Competition that promotes the redesign of snowmobiles for lower emissions, lower noise output, and better fuel economy. This week-long event brings hundreds of volunteers and competitors to the Keweenaw and is a big boost to the local economy. Meldrum is the faculty advisor for the Alternative Energy Enterprise which covers projects including solar panels, wind turbines, geothermal heat pumps, fuel cells, and bio-fuels.
Meldrum earned an MS in Mechanical Engineering from the University of...

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of $25,000 fund goal
The average donation for this project is $1122
days left
Funding is Closed

What Your Donation Can Help Us Do: 

  • Award Clean Snowmobile Challenge participants for their hard work
  • Create new award categories

$1 1 Funder

Receipt acknowledging tax-deductible status of your donation.

$50 0 Funders

The above, plus a Clean Snowmobile Challenge (CSC) commemorative glass coffee mug.

$100 2 Funders

All of the above, plus a CSC commemorative hat.

$250 4 Funders

All of the above, plus a CSC commemorative vest or jacket.

$500 0 Funders

All of the above, plus two tickets to the CSC awards banquet (March 14, 2020).

$700 1 Funder

All of the above, plus four tickets to the CSC awards banquet (March 14, 2020).

$1,000 16 Funders

All of the above, plus a commemorative framed picture of the winning team.

$2,500 4 Funders

All of the above, plus the ability to name a special award for the competition.

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