As the price of gasoline and diesel soar, the next new economy will be the "hydrogen economy," according to Jeremy Rifkin, keynote speaker at a conference sponsored by the Marine Design Resource Alliance.
The 10th Annual Creative Conference was held April 10 and 11 at Breakers Resort in Palm Beach, Fla. Rifkin is president of the Foundation on Economic Trends and author of 17 books on how scientific and technological changes affect the economy.
With gas prices at $3 per gallon and climbing, Rifkin asked attendees if they are considering hydrogen fuel cell-powered boats. Several CEOs of marine engine makers said their companies are involved in joint venture research looking into alternative fuels.
Rifkin also addressed the issue of fractional ownership of boats. Pointing to findings in his book "The Age of Access," Rifkin said this could be a viable option for the marine industry.
"Vacation resorts, timeshares, automobile leasing, the latest trend for fractional ownership of airplanes and jets, and even the iPod era of downloading music are all about access to a lifestyle," he said. "There are a number of companies, here and abroad, that are experimenting with applying this concept for boating."
Rifkin pointed out that risks of failure are high for the first company that tries fractional ownership. But eventually someone else builds on that knowledge and will succeed.