Tokyo 2020 to power Olympic torch with hydrogen for first time

FILE PHOTO: The Olympic torch of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games is displayed at a Torch Relay event to mark the 300-day milestone to the starting date of the torch relay, in Tokyo, Japan June 1, 2019. REUTERS/Issei Kato

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

Organizers 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 realization of a carbon-neutral society,” the organizers said in a statement.

About 500 hydrogen-powered fuel cell vehicles will also be used during the Olympics, which run from July 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 aluminum waste.

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

Reporting by Jack Tarrant; Editing by Clarence Fernandez