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US News: What is aquamation, this greener cremation method chosen by Desmond Tutu?

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The Nobel Peace Prize Desmond Tutu, died at 90, has been reduced by aquamation dust, a new water cremation method presented as an ecological alternative to conventional burial modes.

Like humusation, composting technique with layers of leaves and wood, or liquid nitrogen, aquamation (or resomation) is a funeral mode still confidential only in some countries.

In South Africa , the practice evolves in a certain legislative void. From its scientific name "alkaline hydrolysis", it consists of water cremation rather than fire. The deceased remains deposited in a large metal cylinder, then immersed in a liquid - a mixture of water and alkali product. The substance is heated (around 150 ° C) and pressurized, processes that allows rapid dissolution of the flesh inside the subwoofer. After a few hours, the body tissues (fats, blood, protein, skin ...) are "completely liquefied, and do not stay only the bones", explains the obsic site.info.

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These bones are then reduced to white dust, placed in a urn and refurbished to be buried, as will be Mgr Desmond Tutu , or deposited in a columbarium. From a symbolic point of view, the water is considered softer than the flames, and evokes the end of a life begun in the liquid element. But its defenders mainly put the ecological gain of the method, less energizing than combustion cremation and emitting less than greenhouse gases .

According to the company RESOMATION based in United Kingdom , the aquamation spends five times less energy than fire. It is also used to eliminate the carcasses of animals in slaughterhouses, where it is considered effective in health.

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