An Aquatorium is the 21st C, substitute for a flame crematorium. Imagine walking into a bright, airy, oval shaped chapel with a high roof of glass, like a Cathedral. Natural light bathes the scene. Gentle pastel colours soothe the senses as one occupies comfortable seating arranged in layered semi-circles looking down on the coffin, which sits centre stage on the catafalque. There is time to quietly reflect and compose oneself to honour the dead. Potted plants to the side complete the serene air of the scene adding a pleasant scent. The coffin remains in situ until after the committal service and all mourners have departed. It is then wheeled into the antechamber whence the body is removed and placed within the Aquatorium processor and the water cremation cycle commences. The whole experience is one of peace, joy, thanksgiving and remembrance of the late departed person. A full, perfect, and sufficient ending. Your gaze wanders through the large open plan window to the view in the distance, of mixed woodland and sky. In the foreground there is meandering water flowing through undulating green slopes. You quietly say your farewells then, sometime later, you receive the ashes, to scatter privately according to the wishes of the deceased.
This is a thermodynamic process. The non-embalmed body is placed in a specially designed tank, or vessel and filled with approximately 100 gallons of water, depending of the weight of the deceased. An alkali-based solution or lye (potassium hydroxide) is added. The mixture is heated to 160C, and the sealed chamber becomes pressurised. After 3 hours, the soft tissue of the body has liquified and bone is the only organic solid left. The liquid, a DNA free bio-waste, is responsibly disposed of. The bones, are dried and processed in a cremulator for return to the family.
To provide an ecological and sustainable water cremation service, which mitigates the impact on the environment of the most common methods of disposing of human bodies by either flame cremation or burial by 2023, for benefiting stakeholders, mankind, and the Earth.
The option to be disposed of by alkaline hydrolysis is not proscribed in UK. We are working with the relevant authorities for the disposal of the liquid.
Today, climate change is a real threat to human civilisation. Many of us are making changes in our everyday lives to reduce our carbon footprint, except when it comes to death. At that point, when it is too late, our families are pressured into a Victorian-style funeral where human bodies are burned or buried. Because, fact, 95% of the UK population leave no pre-death instructions for the disposal of their bodies.
75% of the UK population are flame cremated. This is over 487,500 cremations annually. Which produces 150,000 tons of CO2 into the atmosphere, above our very heads.
The global statistics are awesome. Every year, 550,000 people die in the UK alone. In the EU the figure is 5.1m. Globally, it is 56m. Roughly speaking, that is 90% of the population of UK. It is 153,424 people daily. 6,392 per hour. 106 per minute or 1.8 per second. Flame cremation is now widely practised around the world, except in the more undeveloped societies.
The typical cycle to incinerate a single body consumes 285kG of gas (equal to a 500-mile car trip) and 15 kWh of electricity energy.
55% of bodies are embalmed, mainly for the purpose of improving the appearance of the corpse, by preserving it during the laying-out procedure when relatives view it.
Besides formaldehyde, which is a potential human carcinogen, embalming materials may contain phenol, methanol and glycerine.
These chemicals create unacceptable toxic fumes all of which contribute to climate change.
They combine with the flue gases and form harmful carbon emissions containing carbon monoxide, fine soot, sulphur dioxide and heavy metals; 16% of UK’s mercury pollution (dental fillings) emanate from flame cremations.
A flame cremation has a carbon footprint of approximately 400kg of CO2 (potentially 150k tons into the air above us annually). Flame cremation is a direct contributor to poor air quality. We should stop polluting our earth by pumping unnecessary toxic chemicals into the atmosphere.
Burial involves finding a plot in an already overcrowded cemetery. Due to pressure of space, plots are usually available on a lease for a set number of years. Many mourners find it unacceptable to think that their relative will be disinterred in 75, 50 or 35 years. In London, for example, this could even be as little as 25 years. Then there is also the cost which may be several thousands of pounds, plus the commitment of attending the grave to place fresh flowers, keep it tidy and free of weeds.
Burial is also polluting, but in a different way. Most (89%) coffins are made from chipboard which is bonded with a formaldehyde resin. Solid hardwood coffins, sometimes lead lined, preserve the body for many years, merely slowing the decaying process. The embalming chemicals combined with decaying flesh, however, still leach into the adjacent ground and water courses. What justification can there be for continuing to use land for burials?
The decision to specify alkaline hydrolysis is a radical departure from customary post-mortem body disposal procedures. The ecological case to have water cremation is clear. The mental one is harder to make. Any objections are, however, subjective since, when we have died, we are no longer sentient beings and the disposal of our remains is out of our control. The decision is, how we wish this to be done?
It is a fact that cemeteries are full, and graves must be re-cycled. Crematoria burn large quantities of natural gas, emitting greenhouse gases, poisonous emissions and unnecessary heat, directly into the atmosphere.
All this activity is adding to climate change and global warming. Everyday.
How we choose to have our bodies disposed of is a deeply personal commitment. To not consider alkaline hydrolysis or water cremation is a denial of the ultimate decision we can make to help nature slow climate change by our last act being not to pollute the Earth which has sustained us throughout life.
There is an immediate saving on the fact that a coffin is not required after the committal proceedings. The body is not embalmed. Neither do pacemakers need to be removed.
From a technical viewpoint, natural water cremation should cost the same, or less than a traditional flame cremation but the overall cost will depend on the level of ancillary services that you specify. For example hearse, pall-bearers, limousines, flowers, order of service etc. We are also considering offering a low budget direct water cremation service, without ceremony.
More details will be available soon, on the website, meanwhile we ask you to be patient.
Yes, you may.
Yes. The main exception is CJd (Creuzfeldt-Jakob disease).
Pacemakers do not need to be removed, as they must be for flame cremation. Any remaining items are simply separated out before the bone is cremulated. If any metal joints are in good condition, it is possible they could be re-cycled.
Yes, you may. Full details are available on request.
We welcome the involvement of the funeral industry, Care Homes and hospitals. Clients who have specified natural water cremation may have their bodies brought to the Aquatorium, and we will provide pastoral care at whatever level the family seeks. If required, we will collect bodies in our own plain vehicle from anywhere on mainland UK. This will be by individual treaty arrangement with the executors.
Unfortunately not. We are only able to offer our service for humans.