A clean get-a-way: UW student snowmobile wins best in clean energy

Original Article by CADENCE BAMBENEK • Mar 15, 2016 • www.BadgerHerald.com

UW’s team won $2,000 for redesigning powertrain of conventional snowmobile, while maintaining power, affordability

Team Photo
Photo courtesy of Glenn Bower

A team of students in the College of Engineering at University of Wisconsin took first place and won $2,000 at a regional competition to develop clean energy snowmobiles last week.

The challenge asked students to redesign the powertrain of a conventional snowmobile to be as clean and quiet as possible, while maintaining power and affordability.

The UW Clean Snowmobile Team, comprised of 15 undergraduate students, competed in the Society of Automotive Engineers Clean Snowmobile Challenge in Houghton, Michigan from March 7 to 12.

This year’s win marks the UW team’s sixth win in the internal combustion division in the 15-year history of the competition.

Despite mild weather that deteriorated the trail snow, the competition proceeded with its events, tests and presentations, including a 100-mile endurance ride, laboratory emissions, in-service emissions, fuel economy, acceleration, handling, noise, cold-start, technical papers and design presentation.

Glenn Bower, a faculty associate in the Department of Mechanical Engineering who serves as the adviser to the Clean Snowmobile team, said he was originally approached by two students interested in competing in the challenge back in 2000.

Bower said he would be willing to serve as an adviser to the two students interested in establishing a team if they first attended the competition to observe how all of the events were run.

Following through on the condition that they observe the competition, UW’s first clean snowmobile team was formed in the fall of 2001, he said.

Since then, Bower said the design of the snowmobile has evolved each year, changing with the latest engine or sled models made available from snowmobile manufacturers.

To build on the team’s award-winning design from last year, Bower said they tested the model after last year’s competition and found excessive backpressure on the engine, which reduced the efficiency of the snowmobile.

To improve efficiency, the team took its 2013 SkiDoo snowmobile equipped with a powerful engine and removed the turbocharger and created a larger displacement engine for compensation, Bower said.

Ultimately, the team added an exhaust gas recirculation system to the engine to increase air circulation.

“On any engine, the amount of air you can get into the engine determines how much power you can get out of it,” Bower said.

The final engine and snowmobile were 11 percent more fuel efficient, 15 percent more powerful, 75 percent cleaner and 50 percent less noisy than the original.

This last weekend, in addition to $2,000 in prize money and first place, the team’s model was awarded “Best ‘In Service’ Fuel Economy,” “Lowest ‘In Service’ Emissions,” “Best Design,” “Quietest Snowmobile” and the “Enovation E-Controls.”

Reposted from: https://badgerherald.com/news/2016/03/15/a-clean-get-a-way-uw-student-snowmobile-wins-best-in-clean-energy/

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