Green Your Snowmobile

Living in the wintry tundra of Redwood, snowmobiles are more than recreational vehicles. In a nasty blizzard or extremely icy conditions, they're the best—and sometimes, the only—way to get around.

But these extremely fun means of transport also wreak havoc on the playground we call Mother Earth: The EPA found one snowmobile can, in one hour, emit as much pollution into the air as almost 100 cars!

Which is why it's so refreshing to see some of America's greatest minds busy at work coming up with ways to green these litte buggers.

The Society of Automotive Engineers' SAE International Clean Snowmobile Challenge (CSC) is an engineering design competition for college and university student members asking engineering students to improve upon an existing snowmobile to reduce emissions and noise. Their modified snowmobiles will compete in a variety of events including emissions, noise, fuel economy/endurance, acceleration, handling, static display, cold start and design.

The UW-Madison Clean Snowmobile Team in 2009 won awards in the IC and Electric categories with their design for a zero-emissions, electric snowmobile. Check this bad boy out:

Just goes to show you what's possible when you think green.

Nicole Caldwell

Nicole Caldwell is a self-taught environmentalist, green-living savant and sustainability educator with more than a decade of professional writing experience. She is also the co-founder of Better Farm and president of betterArts. Nicole’s work has been featured in Mother Earth News, Reader’s Digest, Time Out New York, and many other publications. Her first book, Better: The Everyday Art of Sustainable Living, is due out this July through New Society Publishers.