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Solutions - Clean Snowmobile Challenge


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In 1999, in response to increasing concern about snowmobile noise and air pollution in environmentally sensitive areas, Teton County Wyoming Commissioner Bill Paddleford and environmental engineer Lori Fussell worked with the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) to form and organize a new intercollegiate design competition, the SAE Clean Snowmobile Challenge 2000 (CSC2000).

The goal of the competition was to develop a snowmobile with improved emissions and noise characteristics that did not sacrifice performance. Modifications were expected to be cost-effective and practical.

Events scheduled to take place during the CSC include emission testing, acceleration event, hill climb event, cold start testing, noise measurement, fuel economy/range event, and oral/written design.

The Clean Snowmobile Challenge 2000 (CSC2000) was held in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, and parts of Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks from March 20 through 31, 2000. Seven teams from participating universities competed against each other in the categories of emissions, fuel economy/range, noise, acceleration, handling, cold-start, hill climb, engineering design paper, oral presentation, and static display. Team were donated a 1997 used 500cc fan-cooled Polaris snowmobile to modify. Points were awarded to teams based on their performance in each of the events.

The CSC2011 was held in March 2011 at the Keweenaw Research Center at Michigan Tech, Houghton, MI. 

Pennsylvania's Clarkson University took top honors at the 2011 challenge. The full slate includes awards for zero emissions and overall performance.

The State University of New York at Buffalo (UAB) won the first place CSC2000 event with a snowmobile featuring a Polaris 500cc four-stroke engine and catalytic after-treatment. This first-place entry was successful at reducing noise and emissions while simultaneously improving fuel economy. However, it did experience some loss of performance capability.

The University of Waterloo took second place in the CSC2000 with a snowmobile featuring an advanced two-stroke engine and catalytic after-treatment. The Waterloo entry significantly reduced emissions while simultaneously improving performance and fuel economy. However, noise from this entry did not meet competition standards.

Through the CSC2000, a first step was taken to solve the noise and emission challenges presented by current technology snowmobiles. Although many CSC2000 participants would have benefited from additional development time, the results from the first year of the Clean Snowmobile Challenge Collegiate Design Series clearly demonstrate that the noise and emission problems associated with traditional snowmobiles can be solved through advances in engine, noise control, and emission control technology.

Selected Links

The Society of Automotive Engineers website features a complete description of the Clean Snowmobile Challenge and details about CSC events in 2000, 2001 and coming up in 2002. Several papers are published on this web-site with permission from the Society of Automotive Engineers, Inc.

As a user of this web-site, you are permitted to view these papers on-line, download the pdf files, and to print copies at no cost for your use only. Downloaded pdf files and printouts of SAE papers contained on this web-site may not be copied or distributed to others, or for the use of others. The following papers have been included with permission of SAE.

SAE Clean Snowmobile Challenge 2002

SAE Clean Snowmobile Challenge 2001

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SAE Clean Snowmobile Challenge 2000