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2020 Olympic Games to use hydrogen fuel to light cauldrons, torch during relay

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TOKYO >> The organizing committee of the 2020 Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games is planning to use the next-generation energy of hydrogen fuel to light the flames of the cauldrons and torch relay. If realized, the 2020 Games would be the first Olympics to use the alternative energy source for this purpose.

Hydrogen produced at a state-of-the-art plant under construction in Fukushima Prefecture, which was devastated by the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami, will be used, the sources said. The Athletes’ Village also will use hydrogen fuel as a power source.

The organizing committee intends to showcase Japan’s advanced technology with hydrogen and reconstruction as themes during the event.

According to sources connected to the organizing committee, the committee is discussing using the hydrogen fuel for the torch at the start of the relay in Fukushima Prefecture.

Hydrogen fuel will also be used as the final torchbearer lights the cauldron at the new national stadium in Tokyo, another cauldron in the Daiba area of Tokyo and to light the Olympic flame during the Games after the opening ceremony.

The Tokyo organizing committee is also considering hydrogen fuel for the ceremonial torch lighting in Greece.

As hydrogen fuel does not emit carbon dioxide at the time of combustion and is a seemingly inexhaustible energy source on Earth, it is called the “ultimate clean energy.” Easier to transport and store compared to electricity, it is expected to be a new energy source for Japan,.

The flame from burning hydrogen fuel is colorless, but with additive agents, various hues can be created, such as red, purple and green.

A senior official of the organizing committee said that a torch displaying various colors “would expand the theatrical effect for the opening ceremony and torch relay.”

By using hydrogen fuel from Fukushima Prefecture, the committee intends to spread the news to the global community about the region’s recovery since the 2011 disaster.

Additionally, the Tokyo metropolitan government plans to use hydrogen fuel cells to cover part of the electricity needs for accommodations in the Athletes’ Village in Chuo Ward, Tokyo, the sources said.

A senior official of the Tokyo government said, “We want to make the Athletes’ Village a showcase for a next-generation ‘hydrogen town.’”

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