Hangzhou set for smart, green Asian Games
For multi-sport events like the Asian Games, the competition between elite athletes may dominate the focal point, but innovations in making these sporting events a sustainable reality are worth the public's attention as well.
With the 19th Asian Games in Hangzhou, east China's Zhejiang Province, around the corner, organizers are hoping their efforts to stage a green and smart Games will contribute to an extraordinary experience for athletes, officials and spectators.
"We will fully utilize Hangzhou's advantage in digital economy to integrate innovative technologies throughout our preparations for the Asian Games to contribute to a successful, splendid and unforgettable sporting and cultural event," said Chen Weiqiang, executive secretary general of the Hangzhou Asian Games Organizing Committee (HAGOC).
All 56 competition venues for the Hangzhou Asian Games were completed by the end of March last year, with 12 being newly built and the rest renovated or temporarily built.
As Hangzhou aims to host a carbon-neutral Asian Games, the use of green electricity in the venues is a concrete step.
According to State Grid Hangzhou Electric Power Supply, some of the green electricity utilized in the venues is photovoltaic energy transmitted from areas such as Qaidam Basin in Qinghai Province, Jiayu Pass in Gansu Province and northwest China's Loess Plateau, while another is wind power generated in areas including Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region.
Apart from green energy, environmentally friendly technologies have been widely used in equipment, transportation and delivery services in the lead-up to the Games.
In the Asian Games Village are located the country's first high-power, wireless, Vehicle-to-grid (V2G) charging stations, equipped with eight 500-kilowatt charging devices, eight wireless charging parking spaces and eight V2G charging piles. The facility will provide efficient and convenient charging service to secure green transportation in that area.
In a move to increase sustainability, a number of venues have adopted water recycling systems. For instance, thanks to a rainwater recycling system, the Fuyang Water Sports Center can save around 1,000 tons of water per month, accounting for 35 percent of its consumption.
The Hangzhou Asian Games mascots, whose fabric is made using digital printing technology, are also an innovative attempt at going green.
Compared with traditional printing technology, the digital process doesn't generate any waste of water, gas or pulp. The mascot dolls are cut by workers using electric scissors instead of laser tailoring machines to reduce air pollution.
For Hangzhou, which is dubbed as an enterprise and innovation hub, the Asian Games is a window to showcase the city's cutting-edge technologies, including big data, artificial intelligence and virtual reality.
The first self-driving bus route for the Hangzhou Asian Games was launched at the Shaoxing Baseball & Softball Sports Center in June. The shuttle buses are equipped with HD cameras, laser radar, millimeter wave radar and an ultrasonic radar and positioning system to ensure safety.
Auto-driving shuttle services are also available in the Huzhou competition zone. The buses operate on a 10-kilometer-long loop route between the Deqing Sports Center Gymnasium and the Deqing Geographic Information Town Basketball Court.
"The bus drives smoothly at a speed of no more than 50 kilometers per hour, responding sensitively and slowing down when encountering overtaking, lane changes and traffic lights," said project manager Qian Jiangfeng.
He explained that although the buses are self-driving, a safety operator is mandatory to preside over its operation for now.
Another highlight of Hangzhou's efforts to host "smart Games" is the digital torchbearer program which allows any smartphone users to take part in the torch relay.
Organizers said the online digital torch relay has attracted over 100 million participants since it was launched on June 15.
It will conclude with a digital light show at the opening ceremony - a first for the Asian Games - on September 23.
"This is the first online torchbearer in the history of the Asian Games, a remarkable achievement for Hangzhou in its efforts to host a smart Asian Games," said Husain Al-Musallam, director-general of the Olympic Council of Asia.
According to Han Chongxin, an official with China Mobile Hangzhou, 5G technology will bring a faster and smoother game-watching experience for the audience.
"Without the restraints of fiber optic cables, people can watch the games wherever they are, either in the office or in open public space, and with less delay," he said.
"SmartHangzhou2022", the first one-stop digital mini-program in Asian Games history, offers information on six aspects of the Games, featuring tickets, food, accommodation, transportation, famous scenic spots and shopping information in Hangzhou and other co-hosting cities.
The program has already over 100 million registered users and more than 4.3 billion visits, according to the HAGOC.
"During the Hangzhou Asian Games, the platform can provide the one-stop solution to meet various needs such as food, accommodation, travel, tourism, shopping and entertainment," said Hangzhou mayor Yao Gaoyuan.