After leading McGill University’s team to victory in the zero-emissions category at this year’s Clean Snowmobile Challenge, Ali Najmabadi, a mechanical engineering undergraduate student, accepted the U.S. National Science Foundation’s invitation to visit Summit Station. In addition to field-testing the machine during his June visit to Greenland, Najmabadi experienced first-hand the brutal polar conditions that challenge mechanical equipment, and observed how Summit scientists and staff use vehicles in their work around the clean air/clean snow research facility.
The McGill team will leverage insight gained from the visit when they return to the lab in the fall. A tendency for the battery to over-discharge (due to operator error and/or a design flaw) limited the snowmobile’s use. But we say such is the value of field testing: it teaches most, perhaps, when it reveals vulnerabilities. We look forward to seeing what McGill does in 2014.
The U.S. National Science Foundation’s Arctic sciences section supports the Clean Snowmobile Contest and manages, in cooperation with the Greenland Government, the clean air/snow research hub Summit Station. The Big House is seen behind the snowmobile. Photo: McGill University Electric Snowmobile Team