Friday, March 29, 2013

[353] History-making MTSU researcher Ricketts drives coast-to-coast using no gas

For release:  March 15, 2013

News and Media Relations contact: Randy Weiler, 615-785-1196 (cell) or MTSU alternative fuels expert contact: Dr. Cliff Ricketts, 615-308-7605 (cell) or

LONG BEACH, Calif. — 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 of Woodbury, Tenn., drove coast-to-coast on hydrogen from water separated by sun (solar), all produced on the MTSU campus. The journey ended Thursday afternoon, March 14.

“I believe this is one of the most historic things that’s ever happened,” said Ricketts, a native of Mt. Juliet, Tenn., and 37-year faculty member. “We’re so dependent upon foreign oil, and what I have shown is that with sun and water 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.”

Starting at 10 a.m. today, March 15, they will be guests of Toyota of Huntington Beach, 18881 Beach Blvd.

Ricketts, 64, and Young drove a 1994 Toyota Tercel and a 2005 Toyota Prius in their quest.

The journey began March 9 as the group began at the shores of the Atlantic Ocean at Tybee Island, Ga. The drive has passed through Tennessee, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Texas and New Mexico along the way.

Ricketts’ trip comes at a time when gas prices rose significantly in February, passing $5 a gallon for regular in several states. As of March 14, AAA said the national average was $3.70 for a gallon of regular gas.
Brentwood, Tenn.-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. TSC contributed $25,000; the research office provided $12,500.

Follow the coast-to-coast journey on Twitter (@WeilerRandy) or visit to read the daily blog about the journey.

About MTSU

Founded in 1911 as one of three state normal schools for teacher training, MTSU is now the oldest and largest public university in Middle Tennessee. With an enrollment of more than 25,000 students, MTSU is the largest undergraduate university in Tennessee.

MTSU remains committed to providing individualized service in an exciting and nurturing atmosphere where student success is the top priority. With a wide variety of nationally recognized academic degree programs at the baccalaureate, master's and doctoral levels, MTSU takes pride in educating the best and the brightest students from Tennessee and around the world.

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