If you thought burial and cremation were the only ways of putting your loved one to rest, think again. A company based in Glasgow, Scotland, has installed the first “alkaline hydrolysis” unit in a Florida funeral home.
The device essentially dissolves the flesh by submerging it in a solution of water and potassium hydroxide pressurized to 10 atmospheres and heated to 356 degrees for two and a half to three hours. The process leaves behind the bones, which can be ground into a powder, much like the ashes after cremation, and returned to family and friends. The bodily tissue, once it is dissolved into a liquid, gets poured into the municipal water system where it enters the natural water cycle.
Another burial mechanism, called promession, is also in the works. The technique was developed by Swedish biologist Susanne Wiigh-Masak. Promession requires infusing the body with liquid nitrogen and vibrating it until it essentially shatters. The fragments are passed through a filter to remove any metals, such as dental work, and placed in a smaller coffin for shallow burial. The process has not yet been authorized, but, according to the BBC, “many individuals have already signed up for the process,” with 60 countries expressing interest in the technology.