Middle Tennessee State University’s Agriscience students plan to set a new distance record for a renewably-fueled hydrogen vehicle next year, and a Renewable Energy hydrogen generator from Proton Energy Systems will play a key role in their project.Murfreesboro, Tennessee and Wallingford, Connecticut – March 18, 2003 [SolarAccess.com] Under the direction of Professor of Agricultural Education S. Clifton Ricketts, Ph.D., the University’s School of Agribusiness and Agriscience has purchased a HOGEN RE (Renewable Energy) hydrogen generator for use in agricultural research and as a fuel input to the school’s experimental internal hydrogen-combustion and electric-hydrogen hybrid vehicles. “Our goal is to run a car with an electric-H2 hybrid engine over 500 miles before refueling, from Mountain City to Memphis, Tennessee in May 2004,” said Ricketts. “Hydrogen is the fuel of the future. It has positive implications for a clean environment, for our economy and for world peace. With Renewable Energy input from solar arrays, cleanly produced electrolytic hydrogen should be able to run a meaningful percentage of our commuter vehicles in the not-too-distant future.” HOGEN RE hydrogen generators transform energy from renewable sunlight and wind to hydrogen which can be used for industrial purposes or as a zero-emission fuel. The HOGEN RE system interfaces directly with photovoltaic (PV), wind or other renewable sources, and produces hydrogen continuously from Renewable Energy, grid power, or any mix of the two. Other features include a modular design, remote diagnostic and control capabilities, and the capability to make hydrogen at sufficient pressure for efficient storage. According to Ricketts, the University purchased the generator from Proton because it provides a reliable source of ultra-pure (99.999 percent) hydrogen, safely separates hydrogen and oxygen within the unit and can be powered by solar array. The unit will feed hydrogen gas easily into the school’s metal hydride storage tank which stores the hydrogen in a solid hydride form. The metal hydride storage system stores hydrogen safely and efficiently at low pressure so that it can be converted back into gaseous hydrogen – with the use of a heat exchanger – when needed for engine fuel. With assistance from Proton’s engineers, Ricketts and his students will begin initial tests with their HOGEN RE unit in early September. Ricketts’ program holds the World’s Landspeed Record for a hydrogen fueled vehicle which they set in 1991. Now, they want to develop an efficient, user friendly electrical/hydrogen hybrid vehicle that has potential for commercial development. Ricketts and his students will also install systems on the vehicle — dubbed “Forces of Nature” — to capture wind, gravity and the sun. Middle Tennessee State University’s hydrogen fueling research is sponsored by Tractor Supply Company, the nation’s number one farm and ranch store.