When Naomi Osaka lit the Olympic flame in Japan last week, it not only marked the start of the Olympic Games, but also showcased the increasingly important role that hydrogen plays in the country’s drive towards a greener future.
For the first time ever, hydrogen is powering both the Olympic and Paralympic cauldrons in Tokyo, as part of efforts to make the Games as sustainable as possible. The fuel was produced by one of the world’s largest hydrogen plants, which is located at the Fukushima prefecture and runs on renewable energy.
Already dubbed the “Hydrogen Olympics,” Tokyo 2020 is a showcase for the fuel of the future, which doesn’t produce any carbon emissions when combusted and can be produced using renewable power. The fuel will play a key role in achieving net-zero emissions by 2050, with energy experts noting that it offers some of the best potential to cut or eliminate emissions from the airline and shipping industries.
“With their immense reach and visibility, the Olympic Games are a great opportunity to demonstrate technologies which can help tackle today’s challenges, such as climate change,” said Marie Sallois, Director for Sustainability at the International Olympic Committee. “Tokyo 2020’s showcasing of hydrogen is just one example of how these Games will contribute to this goal.”
In addition to the flames, the Olympic Village uses hydrogen to provide heat, hot water, and light in dormitories, cafeterias, and training facilities for 11,000 athletes. The electricity used by the facility is generated with hydrogen using pure-hydrogen fuel cells.
As reported by Euronews, the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Village is Japan’s first full-scale hydrogen infrastructure. After the Games, the accommodation center will be turned into hydrogen-powered flats, a school, shops, and other facilities. The Village was designed with the purpose of demonstrating that an urban lifestyle can be sustainable, socially inclusive, and technologically advanced.
“The Tokyo 2020 Games are being asked a crucial question, which is this: What value can be discovered in holding the Games and engaging in sport within the context of the ongoing COVID-19 crisis?,” said Tokyo 2020 President Hashimoto Seiko. “Now is our opportunity to show the world the inherent power of sport and set an example of a more sustainable Games.”
Image source: 10News