AN alternative to burials and cremations is now being offered out of the Gold Coast, Queensland, by Australian firm Aquamation Industries.
The process, known as aquamation or alkaline hydrolosis, has some similarities to cremation.
However, rather than the body being burnt in a crematorium, it is essentially dissolved in hot water.
In order to dissolve the body, it is placed in a stainless steel tub filled with potassium-enriched water.
With the unit then sealed, it is heated to 93 degrees and eddied around for four hours.
When the process is complete, all that remains are the bones and bone fragments which are able to be placed in an urn, in the same way as cremation.
“The process is the same natural way in which a human or animal returns to nature if buried without a coffin in the soil, or placed in a flowing stream of water. The same natural breakdown of tissue occurs with aquamation, just at a faster rate,” said Aquamation Industries.
For those who are concerned with the environmental impact of burial and cremation, aquamation is claimed to be a much cleaner and greener process.
In a traditional cremation, approximately 160kg of carbon dioxide (CO2) is emitted into the atmosphere which includes the body’s soft tissue, water content and any embalming process it has undergone.
Through aquamation, there are no toxic emissions and most of the energy used is in the heating process.
Aquamation Industries claims that their process emits only 10% of the CO2 emitted from a traditional cremation.
They say they have already had 60 pre-paid funerals arranged around Australia to use aquamation.
Currently, aquamation is only permitted in Queensland. However, both NSW and Victoria are looking into it.