China Will Attempt First Carbon-Neutral Winter Olympics

Nancy J. Delong

About a hundred and sixty kilometers northwest of Beijing, the city of Zhangjiakou with its rugged terrain features some of the richest wind and solar resources in China. Renewables account for just about 50 percent of the city’s energy output with less than a 3rd of its full solar and wind prospective of 70 gigawatts set up so much.

That helps make it an suitable cohost with Beijing for the 2022 Winter Olympic and Paralympic Online games, which China strategies to make the greenest still. The program is to power all 26 venues absolutely with renewables, marking a to start with in the games’ history.


The Beijing 2022 Organising Committee aims to make the games carbon neutral, or as near as possible—a benchmark for the Worldwide Olympic Committee’s mission to make the Olympics carbon favourable by 2024.

Apart from currently being a symbol for President Xi Jinping’s formidable intention of China currently being carbon neutral by 2060, the 2022 games ought to drive sustainable progress in the region. The event has currently served Beijing cleanse up its skies and setting, and has fired up nearby electricity-technological know-how markets. It will also be a world wide phase to showcase new electricity-efficiency, alternate-transportation, and refrigeration technologies.

The Olympics will account for only a smaller fraction of the country’s annual energy consumption. Powering them with cleanse electricity resources won’t be tricky supplied China’s abundant renewable potential, suggests Michael Davidson, an engineering-programs and world wide-coverage skilled at the University of California, San Diego.

But Davidson also points out that insufficient infrastructure to control intermittent renewables and energy-dispatch methods that never prioritize them mean that significantly of China’s green-power potential is typically not place to use. And because the video game venues are related to a grid that is run by a variety of resources, asserting that all the energy utilised at the games is a hundred percent from cleanse electricity resources is “complicated,” he suggests. Nevertheless, the games will be critical in increasing the profile of green electricity. “The hope is that this method will place into place some institutions that could help leverage a significantly broader-scale transfer to green.”

The Online games will present a world wide phase to showcase new electricity-efficiency, alternate-transportation, and refrigeration technologies.

Scenario in position: The adaptable DC grid place into place in Zhiangjiakou in 2020 will enable 22.5 billion kilowatt-hours of wind and solar electricity movement from Zhiangjiakou to Beijing every single 12 months. By the time the Paralympics finish in March, the video game venues are envisioned to have consumed about four hundred million kWh of energy. If all of it is indeed furnished by renewables, that ought to lower carbon emissions by 320,000 tonnes, in accordance to sporting activities outlet Inside the Online games. Right after the athletes go dwelling, the adaptable DC grid will proceed to cleanse up about 10 percent of the capital’s immense energy consumption.

Green transportation infrastructure currently being created to shuttle athletes and spectators concerning venues will also be component of the games’ long lasting legacy. A cleanse energy–powered significant-pace railway that usually takes forty seven minutes to travel concerning Beijing and Zhangjiakou was inaugurated in 2019. A lot more than 85 percent of community-transportation vehicles at the Olympics will be run by batteries, hydrogen gasoline cells, or normal fuel, in accordance to condition media.

In August, officials at the Chinese money uncovered a five-12 months hydrogen-electricity program, with targets to build 37 fueling stations and have about three,000 gasoline-mobile vehicles on the highway by 2023, for which the Olympics ought to also be a stepping-stone. By now, hydrogen fueling stations created by China’s petrochemical large Sinopec, Pennsylvania-centered Air Solutions, and French company Air Liquide have cropped up in Beijing, Zhiangjiakou, and the Yanqing competitiveness zone found in concerning.

In Yanqing by itself, 212 gasoline-mobile buses designed by Beijing-centered Beiqi Foton Motor Co. will shuttle spectators about. Even the legendary Olympic torch will burn up hydrogen for its flame.

Even the legendary Olympic torch will burn up hydrogen for its flame.

The 2022 event will also place a limelight on local climate-helpful refrigeration. The immense 12,000-sq.-meter pace-skating oval in downtown Beijing—8 moments the sizing of a hockey rink—will be the to start with in the earth to use carbon dioxide for making ice.

“We’ve created skating rinks with carbon dioxide direct cooling but never a pace-skating oval,” suggests Wayne Dilk of Toronto-centered refrigeration company CIMCO Refrigeration, which has created most of the Countrywide Hockey League arenas in North The united states and created and furnished consulting providers for the Olympics’ icy venues.

Ice-rink technological know-how commonly depends on refrigerants siphoning heat absent from brine circulated under the flooring, Dilk describes. But CO2-centered cooling programs, which are having extra popular generally in Europe and North The united states for supermarkets, foodstuff-production vegetation, and ice rinks, use CO2 both as the refrigerant and for transporting heat absent from under the floor wherever it is pumped in liquid kind.

CO2 is a local climate villain, of class, but typical hydrofluorocarbon refrigerants are worse. The common R-22 kind of Freon, for instance, is about 1,800 moments as potent as a greenhouse fuel. CO2 cooling programs are also 30 percent extra electricity effective than Freon, suggests Dilk. Plus, the CO2 technique provides greater-temperature waste heat, which can be utilised for place heating and incredibly hot drinking water. And when the technique is extra expensive to build because it runs at greater force, the temperature across the large surface area stays in just a range of only .5 °C, giving extra uniform ice. Reliable temperature and ice excellent create far better competitive racing moments. The Beijing 2022 hockey arenas and sliding middle for bobsled and luge use local climate-helpful ammonia or Opteon as refrigerants. Apart from currently being a crucial component of the greenest Winter Olympics, these condition-of-the-artwork ice venues ought to seal the offer for an additional intention China has in 2022: to create alone as a earth-course winter season sporting activities and tourism spot.

This short article appears in the January 2022 print issue as “China’s Green Winter Olympics .”

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