The Alabama native has experience in driving and servicing racing cars, so he knows the role that methanol has played in places such as Indianapolis, where the Indy 500 cars raced on methanol since the 1960s until finally pressured recently to give it up by ethanol producers.
“If racing cars going 200 miles per hour can run on methanol, why can’t ordinary consumer vehicles?” asks the (tk-year-old native of Alabama. “The government has been shoving various alternative fuels down the public’s throat for some time but it obviously isn’t working,” he says. “We’ve got something here that’s going to be driven by consumer desires and nothing else.”
That “something” is a plan to open methanol stations around his native Montgomery with the promise of a free tuneup that will allow drivers to use methanol without any problems, a warrantee on the converted engine, and a chance to fill up at a methanol pump for a cost of about half the price of a gallon of gasoline.
“Ultimately, our business plan is shaped around the idea – give the consumer what they want,” says Morris. And what they want is a cheaper fuel that’s good for America and not sending dollars overseas to countries that could be funding terrorism.”
What Morris has discovered as a car mechanic and fledging entrepreneur is what a lot of experts also recognize – that there’s a huge market opportunity in turning our abundant natural gas supplies into a liquid fuel that could replace gasoline. All it would take is a little engine adjustment and a little initiative.
“What we’re doing is converting the customer’s car to methanol for free,” says Morris. “Then we give them a warrantee against any damage. [This is opposed to the reluctance of the auto companies, which are saying they will not honor warrantees on cars built before 2001 if they use methanol.] “Then they can fill up at one of the methanol stations in Birmingham we’re going to open up. But if they can’t find a methanol station, they can still use gasoline.
“To me that’s the free market,” he adds. “Give the customer a choice and see which fuel wins.”
Morris is confident that at a per-mile cost that is 40 percent lower than gasoline, methanol is ready to win the day. But he needs some help in getting started.
“We already have the support of one of the nation’s largest methanol producers,” he says. “They’ve pledged $200,000 but we have to match it with $300,000 of our own money.” That’s where Indiegogo comes in. Morris has posted under the title, “Kiss Gasoline Goodbye.”
“There is a fuel that costs as much as 40 percent LESS per mile driven and can easily replace gasoline, without requiring you to buy a new car or pay to have yours converted, and can be sold at the gas stations we already have in America,” he tells prospective contributors. “Methanol is that solution. Methanol can be made form almost anything . .. Currently natural gas is the most viable feedstock and will be for many years to come. But coal is a close second, and we have a LOT of coal. Between natural gas as coal, we have enough to fuel every vehicle in the USA for the next 400 years!”
Unfortunately, Crimson Fuel has a long, long way to go. With 33 days left on its Indiegogo campaign it has still only raised $100. Beyond that it will have to deal with the lack of approval from the Environmental Protection Agency in using methanol in gasoline engines.
In truth, Morris’s campaign is pretty quixotic at this point. But he’s recognized all the advantages of methanol and has a sound business plan. If nothing else, it’s a way of getting out the news. With all its advantages, the methanol revolution is bound to start somewhere. Birmingham, Alabama just might be the place.