Can’t take cre­ma­tions? Try deep-freez­ing

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - BACK PAGE -

IN A chill­ing twist on the phrase “dust to dust”, fu­ner­als could soon end with a loved one’s re­mains be­ing frozen to -200ºC and pul­verised into pow­der.

Cry­oma­tion, a revo­lu­tion­ary, eco­log­i­cally friendly al­ter­na­tive to burial or cre­ma­tion, is set to be­come avail­able in fu­neral par­lours in Bri­tain.

Plans for the world’s first “green cre­ma­to­rium” on the edge of a golf course in Eden­bridge, com­plete with a chapel and café, are be­ing con­sid­ered by Sevenoaks District Coun­cil in Kent.

The Law Com­mis­sion, the gov­ern­ment body that re­forms leg­is­la­tion, is draw­ing up reg­u­la­tions that will bring “freeze-dried” fu­ner­als un­der the law for the first time as the land avail­able for tra­di­tional buri­als dwin­dles.

But crit­ics say the in­no­va­tion is “grotesque” and “undig­ni­fied”.

The process has par­al­lels with cre­ma­tion but with­out the harm­ful emis­sions and pol­lu­tants.

In cry­oma­tion, the body is placed in an au­to­mated ma­chine and bathed with pure liq­uid ni­tro­gen, which takes about an hour to cool it to -192ºC.

The body crys­talises and be­come brit­tle, al­low­ing the re­mains to be crushed into par­ti­cles.

Those par­ti­cles are then freeze-dried to re­move mois­ture, fil­ters re­move any med­i­cal im­plants such as hip re­place­ments or teeth fill­ings, and the re­sult is a pile of cof­fee-coloured gran­ules that can be buried in a nar­row, biodegrad­able tube.

One pioneer of the sys­tem, Suf­folk-based firm Incin­er­a­tor Re­place­ment Tech­nol­ogy, has re­ceived hun­dreds of thou­sands of pounds in gov­ern­ment grants to de­velop a pro­to­type and is close to per­fect­ing the tech­nol­ogy. – Mail on Sun­day

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