Apparently cremation isn't as green as we thought it could be. So now starts the rise of a new-ish technique that has a scarier name: liquefaction.
A funeral home in Florida, according to the BBC, recently became the recipient of the first commercial Resomator -- an "alkaline hydrolysis" unit built by the Scottish company Resomation Ltd. -- after the state legislature approved the technology that allowed liquefaction of dead bodies. Florida is one of seven states in the country that allow this technology.
Compared to cremation, which uses flame, liquefaction uses a machine built by Resomation Ltd., and reduces the body to ash using heated alkaline water (a mixture of water and corrosive potassium hydroxide). Both processes take about the same amount of time. According to BBC, this liquefaction process could be a "greener" alternative to cremation:
The makers claim the process produces a third less greenhouse gas than cremation, uses a seventh of the energy, and allows for the complete separation of dental amalgam for safe disposal.
Mercury from amalgam vaporised in crematoria is blamed for up to 16 percent of UK airborne mercury emissions, and many UK crematoria are currently fitting mercury filtration systems to meet reduced emission targets.
Watch Sandy Sullivan, the founder of Resomation in the United Kingdom, explain how it works (no graphic images, but still creepy):
[youtube http://www.youtube.com/v/0SS_CjpVKM8?version=3&hl=en_US expand=1]
The audience interested in liquefaction will probably be the same as those who would have opted for cremation over a traditional casket burial. According to an article written last year by the Scripps Howard News Service, the Cremation Association of North America said those interested in cremation like it because "it costs less, it suits a more mobile society and it’s considered more environmentally friendly, to name a few." The association also predicts that by 2025, 60 percent of bodies will be cremated.
If the technology for machines like the Resamator gets approved in more states, alkaline hydrolysis may take cremation's place as the "green" option for bodies. In fact, Resomation was the recipient of a 2010 Observer Ethical Award for the carbon reduction benefits of the process.
[H/T Popular Science]