Student engineers at the University of Maine are in a national competition to make snowmobiles run on clean energy.
Adrienne Dipiazza talked with the team whose design is unlike any other in the competition.
Each year, the Society of Automotive Engineers hosts a competition to design a snowmobile using clean energy.
The team at the University of Maine is the only one in the country using C-N-G, or compressed natural gas.
“It’s basically an abundant gas that is currently underneath the United States that we have access to and it’s not a foreign oil.”
In April, the team will present their work to a board of engineers for review. They started building the sled in September thanks to some local sponsors. They started her up for us, (NAT POP engine starting)…
“It was running decent, definitely could use some fine tuning and improvement, but we’ve got it in a good spot.”
There’s still a few kinks to work out in the design and internal systems, but project leader, Eric Plourde, says they want it to compete with what’s out there.
“That’s our hope, run it at industry specs, if not even better.”
Standup: “Now natural gas is still an evolving technology, but the clean snowmobile team thinks that with just a few modifications, their snowmobile could be ready to hit the market.”
Like a smaller gas tank than the one they’ve currently got.
“Hopefully we’ll get this to a good spot where all we need is a good way to carry the natural gas and they’ll have a good way to carry the natural gas.”
And to natural gas skeptics, the students say the numbers don’t lie: C-N-G fuel has a quarter less harmful emissions compared to gasoline.
Adrienne DiPiazza, WABI-TV5 News, Orono.