Desmond Tutu, hero of the struggle against Apartheid and winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, who died on December 26, requested that his body be targeted aquamacion, the procedure which is presented as an alternative to cremation by reducing the body to ashes without needing to be burned.
The scientific name for this technique is alkaline hydrolysis, and it involves weighing the body and then heating it to 150°C in a mixture of potassium hydroxide and water for 90 minutes. It dissolves body tissue and leaves only the bone, which is then rinsed at 120°C, dried and mashed using a machine called a cremulator.
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After all these steps are completed, the body can be buried or sprinkled as the deceased wishes, as would be the case with a regular cremation.
However, experts say the procedure is a replica of accelerated alkaline hydrolysis, which occurs naturally when the body breaks down over a period of up to 20 years.
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According to UK-based company Resomation, an “independent environmental analysis” showed that using water cremation instead of fire “reduced greenhouse gas emissions from the cemetery by about 35%.”
Meanwhile, the company Bio-Response, which specializes in the process in the United States, points out that this technology reduces energy use by “90% compared to cremation by fire.”
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Use in multiple jurisdictions
That aquamacion This has been done for several years, but only in a few countries such as the UK, USA, and Mexico.
In 2011, a funeral home in Florida, USA, was installed with the first commercial alkaline hydrolysis machine.
However, according to researcher Philip Olson, specialist in technology ethics at Virginia Tech in the United States, the technique has been used since the 1990s by Albany Medical College researchers looking for “an efficient and inexpensive way to dispose of food waste.
As of 2014, the procedure was legal in eight states EE. law., but there is a sector that is very much against this technology.
With information from the BBC.