Japan is keen to dub its Games as the “Hydrogen Olympics” in an effort to showcase a fuel of the future, which doesn’t produce any carbon emissions when combusted and can be produced using renewable power.
Indeed, when Naomi Osaka lit the Olympic flame in Tokyo, 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.
“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.”
The Olympic Village uses hydrogen to provide heat, hot water, and light in the accommodation, 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.
Just as the Olympic Games Tokyo 1964 left the Shinkansen high-speed train system as its legacy, it is hoped that the Tokyo 2020 Games will leave a hydrogen society as its legacy.
Hydrogen is likely to play a key role in achieving net-zero emissions by 2050 around the world, particularly since it offers some of the best potential to reduce or eliminate emissions from the airline and shipping industries.