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Wood pellets to power 2020 Youth Olympic’s cauldron

The organising committee for the Youth Olympic Games Lausanne 2020 has announced that its Olympic cauldron, the construction of which began on June 17, 2019, will be powered for the first time in the history of the Olympic Games by an "eco-responsible" fuel – Swiss wood pellets.

The Olympic cauldron for the 2020 Youth Olympic Games in Lausanne, Switzerland will be powered for the first time in the history of the Olympic Games by an “eco-responsible” fuel – Swiss wood pellets (photo courtesy Lausanne 2020).

Following the lighting ceremony in Athens, Greece, the Olympic flame will make its journey across Switzerland to light the Lausanne 2020 Olympic cauldron on January 9, 2020, during the Opening Ceremony of the 3rd Winter Youth Olympic Games in Lausanne. For the first time in the history of the Games, and in line with Lausanne 2020’s commitment to sustainability, the Olympic cauldron will be powered by wood pellets.

This will be the result of an unprecedented partnership between several organisations in the region which, together, are building a unique value chain from design to completion of the cauldron. Lignum Vaud, the regional action community of Lignum Swiss Wood Economy which brings together all the regional stakeholders from the wood sector, has led the design and manufacturing of the burner, the cauldron’s central element.

Fueled by Swiss wood pellets

A team of thermal engineers, mechanical engineers and mechanics have developed a new technology. This innovative system will make the flame fully autonomous for 24-hour cycles, which was the only guideline set by the Lausanne 2020 Organising Committee. This means that the burner will not need any external power supply to operate and will be filled with pellets only once a day.

And that is where its most distinctive feature lies: the only fuel used will be Swiss wooden pellets, a first in the history of the Games, but also a sustainable solution and an opportunity to promote local knowledge and know-how.

In parallel, the design of the Olympic cauldron was entrusted to a class of ECAL Industrial Design Bachelor’s students, who worked with apprentices from the Ecole de la Construction and C-For!, in charge of production, as well as with Lignum Vaud to develop a technically feasible project. Only one project was selected – from among several proposals – by a jury put together especially for the occasion.

C-For! then took care of the technical drawings required for its production. In order to promote the hard work and innovative ideas from all students, the cauldron projects which were not selected will be on display at The Olympic Museum from October 2019 until the end of the YOG.

Production of the cauldron is scheduled to be completed in early autumn. And the final creation will remain a secret until it is unveiled at the Opening Ceremony.

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