Clarkson University wins Clean Snowmobile Challenge

By Chad Elmore16 May 2023

Cat-diesel powered snowmobile wins top honors in competition

Milton Cat Clarkson University’s diesel snowmobile. (Photo: Milton Cat)

Clarkson University’s diesel sled team took home top honors for their Cat-powered snowmobile in the Diesel Division of the SAE Clean Snowmobile Challenge held at the World Championship Derby Complex in Eagle River, Wis., in February.

The 11-student team from Potsdam, N.Y., won the Best Design Award, Best Handling Award, and Overall Top Class Award and placed first in the Best Fuel Efficiency and In-Service Emissions categories.

The Clean Snowmobile Challenge, a program of SAE International, is an engineering design competition that challenges students to reengineer an existing snowmobile to reduce emissions and noise. Participants’ modified snowmobiles compete in a series of static and dynamic events, including emissions, noise, fuel economy/endurance, acceleration, handling, cold start, cost, and design.

The Clarkson Diesel Sled is one of many SPEED (Student Projects for Engineering Experience and Design) project teams at the university. While the students can lean on Clarkson employees for support, the team is fully led by the students which allows them to learn and refine their engineering skills.

Clarkson Diesel Sled’s champion snowmobile, a 2021 Polaris Titan, was powered by a turbocharged Caterpillar C1.1 three-cylinder engine from Milton Cat. It is equipped with a Gladstone diesel oxidation catalyst (DOC) along with a diesel particulate filter (DPF).

Milton Cat offers Caterpillar machines, generators, engines, work tools, parts, technology and service. It supports upstate New York, Maine, Vermont, New Hampshire, Massachusetts and Rhode Island.

To increase performance, the team designed and fabricated a fuel delivery system and added power steering to assist with handling the 900 lb. machine.

The snowmobile was retired after the competition as the team plans to compete in the Hybrid Division in 2024.

Milton Cat Milton Cat Power Systems sales rep and Clarkson alumni Evan Allen delivers the CAT C1.1 diesel engine to the Clarkson Diesel Sled team. (Photo: Milton Cat)
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