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A Hydrogen Olympic Torch

Posted on 07-30-2021

The Tokyo Olympics is underway and kicked off with a first - using hydrogen to power the cauldron flame.  The cauldron was designed by Oki Sato of Canada. The sun-like orb had 10 aluminum panels representing petals that opened like a flower that signify "vitality and hope" according to organizers.  Propane has been the typical modern source to fuel the flame in past Olympics.

Hydrogen does not produce carbon dioxide when combusted.  A renewable energy factory in the Fukushima area is fueling the cauldron.  The factory created the hydrogen by electrolysis of water through sun power.  Sodium carbonate was sprayed into the colorless flame to give it the fire color.

Although the cauldron uses strictly hydrogen,  both propane and hydrogen were used during the torch run.

You can read more about the science here:

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Did You Know?

Today the United States is the second largest producer of hydropower - Canada being the largest. There are 75,185 dams in the U.S. but less than 3 percent are used for hydroelectric generation. Between 8 and 12 percent of U.S. electrical generation is produced by hydropower and only about one-fifth of the electricity produced around the world.

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