The Clemson University International Center for Automotive Research (CU-ICAR) has partnered with Safety-Kleen (a Clean Harbors company), a leader in used oil recycling and re-refining, parts cleaning and environmental solutions, and EcoPower, Safety-Kleen’s re-refined motor oil, to give teachers new tools to excite students in the fields of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM).

Safety-Kleen and EcoPower have committed $150,000 over three years to fund fellowships for CU-ICAR’s Driving SCIENCE education program. Driving SCIENCE is a joint venture of Clemson, Daytona International Speedway and DuPont that incorporates the science of NASCAR® to help educators teach STEM subjects in a compelling way.

Driving SCIENCE workshops for middle and high school teachers are held at race tracks around the country, where advances in STEM are readily apparent. Each workshop introduces the science of motorsport to 24 teachers, who pass on what they learn to their students. Lessons range from simple mechanics to engineering cycles students can apply in class.

Safety-Kleen and EcoPower funding will support two fellows at CU-ICAR who will work with Clemson’s Division of Human-Centered Computing to develop tools that encourage STEM education components in student learning.

The grant, the first such commitment Safety-Kleen and EcoPower have made to a university, will also allow CU-ICAR to generate student and faculty research, testing and validation in the areas of environmental services and re-refined oil.

Moreover, Clemson will expand the program in 2013 to teach at up to 10 tracks, ensuring geographic and demographic distribution of participating teachers. By expanding the program to more tracks, Driving SCIENCE estimates it will reach 45,000 middle and high school students and educators next year alone.

“Safety-Kleen, like all U.S. companies, has a vested interest in promoting STEM education in classrooms across America,” said Curt Knapp, executive vice president of marketing and re-refined oil sales for Safety-Kleen.

“Our engineers created EcoPower, a recycled product that performs as well or better, in many cases, than original motor oil, but takes up to 85 percent less energy to produce. It’s a remarkable scientific achievement, and through this grant, we hope to inspire engineers and scientists of the future to achieve even greater things.”

“This collaboration is another example of CU-ICAR’s track record of successful public-private partnerships,” said Imtiaz Haque, executive director of the Carroll A. Campbell Jr. Graduate Engineering Center at CU-ICAR. “As a nation, the U.S. needs more homegrown scientists and engineers, and with the support of Safety-Kleen’s EcoPower, we can help develop young minds that will become the creative force in this country.”