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Olympic hero Iain Percy picks Belfast as base for eco project


Iain Percy at Belfast Harbour (Presseye/PA)

Iain Percy at Belfast Harbour (Presseye/PA)

Iain Percy at Belfast Harbour (Presseye/PA)

A double Olympic gold medallist is skippering a bid to make the UK a world leader in zero-emissions passenger ferries.

Sailing champion Iain Percy is combining his own know-how from designing America's Cup racing yachts with expertise from the maritime, aerospace and F1 racing industries to develop what he calls a "plane underwater".

Percy (43) has chosen Belfast as the location for the eco-friendly hydrofoil technology.

His consortium - which includes leading manufacturers such as Bombardier UK and universities and local councils in Northern Ireland - is currently vying for a £30m Government grant to part-fund a £60m research and development project.

The green-energy ferries will use the same hydrofoil technology that has transformed America's Cup sailing.

With Bombardier's wing-manufacturing plant adjacent to Belfast's shipyards, Percy said the city is perfect for a business that combined both industries.

"This is a real transformative technology and because of that the growth can be huge," he said.

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