This 4th of July weekend will see the first annual “Escape from Berkeley” with a race from Berkeley, CA to Las Vegas, NV. This three day race will be unlike an ordinary race as all of the vehicles will be running on non-petroleum fuel! The announcement arrived via an email from Jim Mason, a well known East Bay artist who is responsible for large scale art projects and the Shipyard. All sorts of vehicles are permitted to enter the race as long as they are not powered by any petroleum based fuel or something that is “currently sold as a motor fuel”. You are allowed to store 10kwh of power in any form to get you going, but past that you’ll have to use your creativity. Some of Mason’s suggestions (other than the typical solar and steam) include: biomass, gasifiers, fast starch anaerobic digesters, on board sugar stills, tesla free energy vortexes, cold fusion, humans, and hamsters. On top of this, you can’t carry any fuel with you and you can’t purchase it on your way. Contestants will have to scavenge their fuel/power for free on the side of the highway.
So what do you win? Besides the geek pride and bragging rights, there will be a “significant cash prize for the winnner”. More information will be announced in the near future, but if you’re already interested in entering, get in touch with Jim. As this race is being compared to the Grand Challenge and Cannonball Run, it should be interesting to see what vehicles make it to Vegas, and who actually makes it there first!