Clean Snowmobile Project (2014-2015)

Home About ECU Team Chassis Team Injector Team Milestones

Clean Snowmobile Group
'14-'15 Clean Snowmobile Team
'13 Arctic Cat XF1100
Fuel Source Converted to CNG

     Snowmobiling is an important part of the Maine economy. One study calculated that the sport provides more than 3000 full time equivalent in the state. While the modern snowmobile is a dramatic improvement in noise and emissions than machines from only a decade ago, they still represent a significant source of pollution in often pristine areas. The use of ethanol blend in the fuel has also presented problems for snowmobiles used in forest service and rental operations due to condensation and the resulting negative impact on pollution. In spring term of 2014 the first CNG snowmobile in Maine was demonstrated. The converted snowmobile was both a challenge and a success. The outside of the box thinking that came with this system told a compelling story about what students can do in a niche area.

     This year's Clean Snowmobile team will be split into three separate groups consisting of a team that is working on the injectors, a team working on the engine control unit, and last but not least a team working on the chassis and handling of the snowmobile. Below is a quick introduction to the project that each team is working on. For more information on the teams, please tab through the website.

Injector Team: There is currently a lack of reliable injector curves and a lack of support from the industry for odd-applications. The injector team will focus on the construction of a system which can control and replicate the duty cycle of an injector used with gaseous fuels and link the instrumentation to known values. It will be necessary to provide both controlled air flow and fuel flow for the system as well as measuring the oxygen in the output to get a flow curve.

Engine Control Team: The focus of this group is on the development of the dyno bench so that it can be used for a mockup of controls and for understanding of the operation of the newly adopted aftermarket ECU. This has the potential to address the biggest single barrier the optimization of both liquid and gas fueled snowmobile. This project will use a sister engine and the engine dynamometer in the dyno cell in lab to ultimately get the engine to run properly on compressed natural gas.

Chassis and Handling Team: This team will be solving the problem of the snowmobiles general handling mechanics. When the previous year's team swapped the snowmobile from regular gasoline to compressed natural gas they were forced to use a very large and very heavy tank. The tank size and weight causes issues with the way the sled handles as it is, so changes will need to be made so that the snowmobile can handle just like any other snowmobile. This may require changes to suspension, chassis, skis, and many other parts on the snowmobile.

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