Middle Tennessee State University alternative fuels researcher Dr. Cliff Ricketts achieved a career goal and etched his name in history by driving 2,600 miles across country and using no gasoline.
Ricketts and co-driver Terry Young drove coast-to-coast on hydrogen from water separated by sun (solar), all produced on the MTSU campus. The journey ended in California on Thursday, March 14th.
“I believe this is one of the most historic things that’s ever happened,” said Ricketts, a native of Mt. Juliet, TN, and a 37-year faculty member. “We’re so dependent upon foreign oil, and what I have shown is that we can run vehicles on sun and water all across the country.”
“After 25 years, I finally reached my goal of going coast-to coast on nothing but sun up above us and water, from the beach right here” he added. “I’ve got a great support team, (including) Terry Young and probably 50 to 60 students over the last 25 years working on many components of it.” Ricketts, 64, and Young drove a 1994 Toyota Tercel and a 2005 Toyota Prius in their quest.
The journey began March 9th on the shores of the Atlantic Ocean at Tybee Island, Ga. The drive passed through Tennessee, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Texas, ab=nd New Mexico. (Editor's note: and presumably Arizona and California).
Ricketts’ trip comes at a time when gas prices have passed $5 a gallon for regular in several states. Brentwood, TN-based Tractor Supply Co., the MTSU Office of Research, and Louisville, KY-based Farm Credit Services of Mid-America are the primary sources of Ricketts’ 2012-13 funding.