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ExxonMobil sponsors sustainability concept vehicle at CU-ICAR

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Clemson University students are partnering with industry leaders to create sustainable solutions for the life cycle of vehicles.

Sponsored by ExxonMobil, graduate automotive engineering students in the university’s Deep Orange program are working to develop a next-generation sustainable concept vehicle.

The goal of the project is to develop an ultra-efficient, lightweight, highly durable mobility solution, according to a news release. The project emphasizes the integration of sustainability in the entire product lifecycle — from manufacture to operation, with circular economy considerations. Students will have a hands-on experience working with ExxonMobil and skilled engineers throughout the design and development process, the release said.

“Automakers, parts manufacturers, tire companies and other auto-related businesses around the world rely on ExxonMobil to deliver advanced materials that help enhance and modernize automotive design,” said Stuart Milne, venture manager for sustainable mobility, ExxonMobil Chemical Company. “We’ve developed lighter-weight vehicle plastics, liners that keep tires inflated longer, tire tread additives to reduce roll resistance, and advanced fuels and lubricants that improve engine performance. We’re excited to work closely with the future leaders of sustainable mobility at Clemson as part of an effort to further drive automotive innovation.”

Housed at the Clemson University International Center for Automotive Research, Clemson Deep Orange is a project-based learning program focused on systems integration. Now in its 11th iteration, the program immerses automotive engineers into the world of vehicle manufacturers and suppliers. Over two years, students obtain experience in financial and market analysis, vehicle design, development, prototyping and production planning, according to the news release.

Deep Orange 11 will be led by Srikanth Pilla, the Jenkins Endowed Professor of Automotive Engineering at Clemson University and director of the Clemson Composites Center.

“Our program offers students the opportunity to work alongside industry experts and the prospect to bring their ideas concerning sustainable mobility into reality,” Pilla said in the release. “The hands-on experience gained through the Deep Orange program will ease their transition into the workforce upon graduation.”

CU-ICAR is a 250-acre advanced-technology research campus where university, industry and government organizations collaborate in Greenville. CU-ICAR offers master’s and Ph.D. programs in automotive engineering and is conducting applied research in areas such as advanced product-development strategies, sustainable mobility, intelligent manufacturing systems and advanced materials. CU-ICAR has industrial-scale laboratories and testing equipment.

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