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The alkaline hydrolysis process is known by a number of names or terms, Resomation, BioCremation, flameless cremation, chemical cremation, green cremation and aquamation.
The fundamentals of this process is placing a body into a pressurized tank where a water/alkaline solution is heated to typically 300 degrees Fahrenheit. The body can be placed into the pressure tank covered in a simple shroud. No coffin required. The chemical reaction of the salts and gases over 6-8 hours allows the solution to degrade the body back to bones. The higher the temperature, the quicker the process. These bones are then crushed into fragments and returned to the family (same as flame cremation is today). The time will vary subject to body size.
Currently this process is very restricted due to the laws in most states not permitting it. The biggest problem is the disposal of the high alkaline solution. While development is improving to neutralize the alkaline and ph element with acids and filtering, under SA Water Regulations and the SA Burial and Cremation Act 2013 this process is currently illegal.
There is a provider of this service operating in Sydney only that does provide this service at a cost.
Is it greener ?
Simply the answer is yes. There are no emissions and the waste is void of DNA and mostly dissolved by the total process. No gas is used and electricity is minimal compared to other technology's. While a lot of water is used, after filtering it can be recycled and used on land safely in the right environment.
While there is one operator of this method interstate, the environmental benefits of using AH are not sustained as the body has to be transported interstate for AH to occur. The high transfer costs and CO2 emitted in doing this outweigh the benefits compared to cremation using one of the new generation of cremators in Adelaide.
Given time this will be an accepted alternative to flame cremation but we will probably not see this in SA for many years (unless a lot of rules change).
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