Tokyo 2020: The First Hydrogen Olympic Games
This is the first post in a four post blog series discussing our takeaways from attending the recent SOFC-XVI Symposium 2019 located in Kyoto, Japan. Check back later for the next three parts in this series.
When Tokyo, Japan first hosted the summer Olympics in 1964, the preparation ahead of time focused on building up the infrastructure necessary to transport the multitude of people that would be attending. The legacy of those games was the construction of the high-speed train network which still provides incredible value and service today in bringing people closer together. Now, as Tokyo is set once again to host the summer Olympics in 2020, Japan is setting its sights on “leaving a hydrogen society as its legacy,” the Governor of the Tokyo Metropolitan Government said at the time of the announcement.
We are now less than a year away from the start of the games, and the preparation work for achieving this hydrogen dream is well underway. One place where this is clear is at the recent SOFC XVI Symposium hosted in Kyoto in the Kansai region of Japan. Nexceris gathered with researchers from Japan, as well as other parts of Asia, Europe, and North America, to discuss the latest news and research focus for Solid Oxide Fuel Cells and Electrolyzer Cells. With the goal of putting thousands of fuel cell cars and around 100 additional fuel cell buses on the road in time for the games, new hydrogen fueling stations are being built using some of this technology using electrolysis to produce the hydrogen.
With all the world watching the games, Japan knows that this will be a great opportunity to focus attention to hydrogen as a viable source of clean fuel. As countries adapt new technologies to meet targets to offset the effects of climate change, having this example of what is possible will go a long way in setting more concrete policies going forward. With this focus comes additional funding opportunities for research in creating longer lasting, more efficient fuel cells.
To further demonstrate the clean burning nature of hydrogen, the Olympic torch itself will be lit with a hydrogen flame for the first time. Since hydrogen burns colorless, different color additives can be added to make the flame stand out, creating memories for those viewing of dancing green, blue, or purple flames going up into the night sky. Let us hope that the memories of hydrogen’s introduction to the world stage are long lasting and prove to be in the forefront of the hydrogen society.
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