Green Innovations

Developing renewable and clean technology companies in New York

Friday, April 9, 2010

Clarkson University Electric Snowmobile Earns Trip to Greenland in Clean Snowmobile Competition

Clarkson University's Electric Snowmobile was one of the top-two zero-emissions winners last month at the 2010 SAE Clean Snowmobile Challenge at Michigan Technological University. As a result, Clarkson has been invited to bring the snowmobile to the Summit Station in Greenland, where the National Science Foundation (NSF) is doing atmospheric research.

The zero emissions category for battery-powered sleds is sponsored by the NSF, which uses electric snowmobiles while conducting research in pristine arctic locations. With data being taken in parts per billion, any emissions from a conventional snowmobile would affect the results.

Clarkson University also took the CH2M HILL Polar Service Range Event Award and the Keweenaw Research Center Draw Bar Pull Award, dragging 737 lbs., nearly 100 lbs. more than the second-place team. The team also came in first on the endurance run.

The Clarkson snowmobile, which weighs in at 718 lbs., is powered by 816 Lithium Iron Phosphate (LiFePO4) batteries, which power a 42 horsepower Solectria motor. It was the quietest at the entire competition, measuring at 63 decibels (dB), about the noise level of an average conversation.

The competition's snowmobiles are built as utility vehicles, with the goal being to build a machine that can pull a heavy load and have as long a range as possible. The sleds must also be able to withstand arctic temperatures as low at -40 degrees Celsius.

Sponsors of the Clarkson Electric Snowmobile Team include Alcoa Inc., Vicor, EV Components, Camoplast, Woody's, Omega Engineering, K2 Energy, Salisbury High Voltage Protection, Clarkson University's Electrical and Computer Engineering Department, Anderson Power Products, Solid Works, North Country Collision, and Northeastern Sign.