12:17pm

Fri March 15, 2013
Science

Ricketts Completes His "No Gas" Drive Across America

With Dr. Cliff Ricketts at the wheel of his modified Toyota sedan, the MTSU alternative fuels team arrives at the Pacific Ocean at Long Beach, California, Thursday, March 14, 2013.
Credit mtsunews.com

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. (WMOT)  --  A mid-state researcher has achieved a goal he’s been working toward for the past 30 years, successfully completing a drive across the United States without using any gasoline.

Middle Tennessee State University alternative fuels expert Cliff Ricketts reached the Pacific Ocean at Long Beach, California, Thursday evening, capping a journey that began in Georgia on the Atlantic Coast five days earlier.

Ricketts and his team made the drive using two modified Toyota sedans running on hydrogen fuel separated from water using solar energy.

Ricketts says he experimented with a lot of energy sources, before finally settling on hydrogen.

“We went from ethanol to methane to biodiesel to electric, and now we’re with hydrogen from water. So it’s kind of been an evolving process.”

Rickett’s team endured some tense hours Thursday morning on the final leg of their journey. A broken valve on a hydrogen storage tank left them with so little fuel they weren’t certain they would be able to complete the 2600 mile, cross-country drive.