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03-14-2012

Clarkson University Wins National Clean Snowmobile Challenge

[A photograph for media use is available at http://www.clarkson.edu/news/photos/snowmobile2012.jpg .]

Clarkson University captured first place in the 2012 SAE Clean Snowmobile Challenge, which drew to a close March 10 at Michigan Technological University.

Clarkson’s Chris Ingles maneuvers through a corner. Ingles placed first in the Polaris Handling event for the second year in a row.“This is our second year in a row, and it’s a crazy feeling,” said team captain Benjamin T. Edwards, a junior mechanical engineering major from Farmington, N.Y. “We knew it was close. But the team was awesome. We came prepared, and, I can’t say enough about our sponsors who made it all possible.” Their winning four-stroke sled revolved around a 2011 Ski-Doo MX Z chassis.

Clarkson also captured several special awards, including the Polaris Industries Award for Best Handling, the PCB Group Award for Quietest Snowmobile and the DENSO Corporation Award for Best Ride. It also received the Emitec Award for Best Value, which recognizes the best balance between cost, fuel economy and performance; and the BlueRibbon Coalition Award for Most Practical Solution, for the best balance between cost and noise and emissions reduction.

The Clean Snowmobile Challenge is the newest collegiate design competition of the Society of Automotive Engineers. Engineering students from participating schools reengineer a stock snowmobile to reduce emissions and noise and increase fuel efficiency—all while preserving the riding excitement demanded by snowmobile enthusiasts.

“I think it’s been the best Challenge since we began hosting it 10 years ago,” said co-organizer Jay Meldrum. “We had the best snow, everything ran smoothly and the teams all put in a great effort.”

The team utilized a 2011 Ski Doo MXZ Sport 600ACE with a closed-loop fuel system able to run on flex fuels ranging from E0 to E40 with the addition of a custom prototype Power Commander electronic control unit (ECU). The ECU was programmed to automatically adjust fuel tables to run optimally for any fuel in that range.

The snowmobile also featured a new 2-into 1 exhaust system and a catalyst integrated into a heavily modified stock muffler for packaging.

The Clarkson Snowmobile is BAT (best available technology) certified for Yellowstone National Park running E35 fuel, with an E-Score of 183.23. All new OEM (original equipment manufacturer) snowmobiles must achieve an E-score of at least 100, whereas Yellowstone requires an E-score of 170.

Sponsors for the team include BRP, Ingles Performance, DynoJet Research Inc., Klim Technical Riding Gear, Emitec Inc., Aristo Intelligent Catalyst Technology, 139Designs, SolidWorks, Lotus Engineering, BTD Manufacturing, Zeitronix, Split Rail Ski, Land and Sea, Factory Pipe, Bell Intercoolers, Honeywell by Garret, Powderlites, and the New York State Snowmobile Association.

The Clean Snowmobile Challenge is sponsored at Michigan Tech by the Keweenaw Research Center and the Department of Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics.

Clarkson Clean Snowmobile Team is part of the SPEED program, one of the Wallace H. Coulter School of Engineering hallmark initiatives, exemplifying Clarkson's “defy convention” approach to education. SPEED promotes multidisciplinary, project-based learning opportunities for more than 350 undergraduates annually. Projects involve engineering design, analysis, and fabrication. In addition, students learn real-world business skills, such as budget management, effective teamwork, and communications skills.

Clarkson University launches leaders into the global economy. One in five alumni already leads as a CEO, VP or equivalent senior executive of a company. Located just outside the Adirondack Park in Potsdam, N.Y., Clarkson is a nationally recognized research university for undergraduates with select graduate programs in signature areas of academic excellence directed toward the world’s pressing issues. Through 50 rigorous programs of study in engineering, business, arts, sciences and health sciences, the entire learning-living community spans boundaries across disciplines, nations and cultures to build powers of observation, challenge the status quo, and connect discovery and engineering innovation with enterprise.

Photo caption: Clarkson University captured first place in the 2012 SAE Clean Snowmobile Challenge at Michigan Technological University. Above, Clarkson’s Chris Ingles maneuvers through a corner. Ingles placed first in the Polaris Handling event for the second year in a row.

[News directors and editors: For more information, contact Michael P. Griffin, director of News & Digital Content Services, at 315-268-6716 or mgriffin@clarkson.edu.]

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