Emerging Tech

Japan aims to power Tokyo Olympics with 100 percent renewable energy

With the Tokyo Olympics just two years away, the event’s organizing committee has announced it wants to power the games using renewable energy only.

That means building systems to supply the Games — both Olympic and Paralympic — with electricity generated from renewable sources such as wind and solar as part of efforts to promote decarbonization, the Japan Times reported.

Described by an official as “unprecedented” for a major sporting event, the Games’ renewable energy target will also encompass the athletes’ village, the international broadcasting center, and the main press center.

Part of the strategy designed to help it reach its target will involve renting and leasing items that are used during the event. If any need to be bought, the committee will make arrangements to guarantee their use once the sporting extravaganza is over.

Organizers also plan to purchase renewable energy from power companies and to install solar panels where possible.

Speaking of solar panels, the committee is making plans to build a number of solar roads to generate some of the power used by the 2020 Games. Embedded directly in roads, the surface of the panels includes a special resin to ensure their durability, the Independent reported. As part of trial, a convenience store near Tokyo recently installed solar panels beneath its parking lot, with the setup now taking care of almost 10 percent of the store’s power needs. Similar technology has already been installed in several roads in France, as well as on cycle paths in the Netherlands.

Other efforts to make the Games greener include making the medals from precious metals collected from used mobile phones.

Organizers launched a campaign in Japan last year to encourage people to recycle their old mobile phones from which the metals can be extracted.

Partnering with Japanese cellular giant NTT Docomo and the Japan Environmental Sanitation Center, the plan is to collect at least eight tons of metal from discarded mobile devices. Millions of phones are needed so that enough material can be gathered to make the 5,000 medals due to be presented at the event in 2020.

Recent Olympic Games have used recycled e-waste to create the medals, but Japan says Tokyo 2020 is aiming to be the first where all of the gold medals are made entirely with recovered metal.

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