The Austrian engine manufacturer Rotax unveiled the very first zero-emission snowmobile last week. The electric vehicle gets its energy from a fuel cell that runs on hydrogen. This first emission-free snowmobile concept called Lynx HySnow received a lot of attention during its presentation as part of the framework program at the FIS World Cup 2020 in Hinterstoder. There is a great deal of interest in the development of sustainable winter sports in Austria. All over the country, lifts and other installations are already being powered by energy that has been generated sustainably. The aim is to make winter sports CO2-free within the foreseeable future.

Rotex worked on the development of this new snowmobile for more than four years. The basis for the new Lynx HySnow is the Lynx 69 Ranger Alpine, a snowmobile that has already been used for years at Austrian ski resorts. The vehicle has been completely rebuilt and equipped with an innovative electric drive train, which includes a hydrogen fuel cell. The combination of e-mobility and hydrogen makes the Lynx HySnow not only an outstanding example of sustainability, it also scores with other advantages. For example, the innovative drivetrain system means that the new vehicle is virtually silent. It’s also unaffected by temperature fluctuations. And it has a wider range and faster acceleration than a conventional electric drivetrain.

Green hydrogen

Rotax developed the new snowmobile together with, among other, hydrogen specialist HyCentA Research GmbH. In addition to the Lynx HySnow, they also designed an integrated hydrogen ecosystem with a fuel tank in Hinterstoder.

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“To us, ‘green hydrogen’ means that the electricity needed for the electrolysis process that produces the hydrogen is also generated using renewable energy,” explains Alexander Trattner. He’s the managing director and scientific director of HyCentA Research GmbH. “We are also dependent on sustainably produced hydrogen for the hydrogen ecosystem at Hinterstoder where the HySnow is concerned. We definitely see this form of renewable energy as the future of mobility.”

According to Theresia Vogel, managing director of the Austrian Climate and Energy Fund, electric mobility has the potential to create a lot of added value and many more jobs.  ” That’s why we support innovative, implementation-oriented projects like that of HySnow, which provide efficient and climate-friendly mobility solutions. This will bolster the domestic economy and stimulate the mobility transition.”

Sustainable tourism

The ”Emission-free snowmobile” signal is a forward-looking move towards phasing out fossil fuels. That puts Austria back in the international spotlight as a place for business and research. At the same time, this project is also an important indicator of sustainable tourism, which is particularly important in our province,” underlines Markus Achleitner, Commissioner for Economic Affairs, Research and Tourism.

Read more articles about hydrogen as an energy source of the future here..

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About the author

Author profile picture Arnoud Cornelissen has for many years been writing about science and technology in, among others, various Dutch newspapers.