12:30pm

Mon March 11, 2013
Science

Mid-State Researcher Takes "No Gas" Drive Across America

MTSU professor Cliff Ricketts, left, explains the hydrogen fueling process to a Savannah, Ga., television reporter. A 2005 Toyota Prius and a 1994 Toyota Tercel use hydrogen from water separated by sun (solar), all produced on the MTSU campus, as the fuel sources.
MTSU professor Cliff Ricketts, left, explains the hydrogen fueling process to a Savannah, Ga., television reporter. A 2005 Toyota Prius and a 1994 Toyota Tercel use hydrogen from water separated by sun (solar), all produced on the MTSU campus, as the fuel sources.
Credit mtsunews.com

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. (WMOT)  --  A mid-state researcher is trying this week to drive across the United States without using gasoline.

Middle Tennessee State Ag professor Cliff Ricketts is attempting to drive cross-country using only hydrogen fuel and solar energy.

Ricketts and his team left the East Coast over the weekend and hope to make it as far as Arkansas by this evening.

So why is an Ag professor so interested in alternative fuels?

“Back in 1978 when the Ayatollah took our hostages, and at the same time OPEC was shutting down the world’s oil supply, gas prices tripled. So I was afraid that the American farmer wouldn’t be able to harvest their crops after doing all the work all year.”

In the years since, Dr. Ricketts has pursued alternative fuel research on several energy sources, including ethanol, methane, bio-diesel, and electric, but now believes using water and solar power to create hydrogen is the most promising approach.

Dr. Ricketts hopes to arrive on the California coast some time Thursday.