Hydrogen Olympic torch among many green initiatives for Tokyo

Olympic medals this year will be made from recycled consumer electronics. (AFP pic)

TOKYO: Hydrogen will be used for the first time to power the Olympic torch during its journey through Japan, organisers said on Monday, as part of Tokyo 2020’s efforts to hold an environmentally friendly Games.

Organisers aim to offset all carbon emissions generated during the Games and also use the Olympics to boost awareness of environmental issues in Japan.

The Tokyo 2020 organising committee said certain stages of the torch relay will use hydrogen, which emits no carbon dioxide when it is burned, and it will also fuel the ceremonial Olympic cauldron featuring in the Games’ opening and closing ceremonies.

Hydrogen will be used to power the torch on its journey through the prefectures of Fukushima and Aichi, as well as parts of Tokyo, with gas used in other stages of the relay.

“During its preparations for the Games, Tokyo 2020 has consistently promoted energy conservation and the use of renewable energy with the aim of supporting the realisation of a carbon-neutral society,” the organisers said in a statement.

About 500 hydrogen-powered fuel cell vehicles will also be used during the Olympics, which run from Jul 24 to Aug 9.

Other initiatives to cut the environmental impact of the Games include beds made from recyclable cardboard in the athletes’ village, Olympic medals made from recycled consumer electronics and the torches themselves, formed of aluminium waste.

The torch relay begins in Fukushima on Mar 26 and will visit all 47 of Japan’s prefectures ahead of the Jul 24 opening ceremony.