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03-30-2007

Clarkson University's Electric Snowmobile Team Competes in Michigan

[A photograph for media use is available at http://www.clarkson.edu/news/photos/snowmobile2007.jpg and http://clarkson.edu/news/photos/snowmobile2007-b.jpg]

Clarkson University's electric snowmobile team, the Electric Knights, recently competed in the annual SAE (Society of Automotive Engineers) Clean Snowmobile Challenge, held at Michigan Tech. The team is part of the University's SPEED (Student Projects for Engineering Experience and Design) program.

The goal for this year's competition was to design a snowmobile with lower environmental impact -- less noise and fewer emissions -- without sacrificing the performance that snowmobile enthusiasts crave. Teams received bonus points for using biofuels, and about half a dozen are engineering sleds that run on E85 ethanol or B10 biodiesel. Clarkson's team designed a zero emissions snowmobile powered by an electric motor and battery pack. The team received fourth place in the Zero Emission category. snowmobile2007

The team received one of four $2,000 grants from the National Science Foundation's Division of Polar Programs. The grant was given to teams entered in the zero-emissions category to help them design a snowmobile in this particular competition.

Other schools that participated in the Challenge include Kettering University, Michigan Tech, Minnesota State University at Mankato, the State University of New York at Buffalo, the University of Idaho, the University of Maine, the University of Minnesota at Duluth, the University of Wisconsin at Madison and the University of Wisconsin at Platteville.

The SPEED (Student Projects for Engineering Experience and Design) program is one of the Wallace H. Coulter School of Engineering hallmark initiatives exemplifying Clarkson's boundary-spanning approach to education. SPEED promotes multidisciplinary, project-based learning opportunities for more than 250 undergraduates annually. Projects involve engineering design and analysis, and fabrication. In addition, students learn real-world business skills such as budget management, effective teamwork, and communications skills. SPEED receives its primary financial support from the Wallace H. Coulter Foundation with contributions from ExxonMobil and Turner Construction Company. The program was recognized with the 2001 Boeing Outstanding Educator Award and the 2002 Corporate and Foundation Alliance Award for its exceptional contributions to improving undergraduate engineering education.

Clarkson University, located in Potsdam, New York, is a private, nationally ranked university with a reputation for developing innovative leaders in engineering, business, the sciences, health sciences and the humanities. At Clarkson, 3,000 high-ability students excel in an environment where learning is not only positive, friendly and supportive but spans the boundaries of traditional disciplines and knowledge. Faculty achieves international recognition for their research and scholarship and connects students to their leadership potential in the marketplace through dynamic, real-world problem solving.

Photo caption: Clarkson University's electric snowmobile team, the Electric Knights, recently competed in the annual SAE (Society of Automotive Engineers) Clean Snowmobile Challenge, held at Michigan Tech.

[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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