What Is Aquamation ?
Aquamation is basically, as the name suggests, the same process that is applied in cremation, but utilizing water instead of heat to reduce the body of the loved one.
Aquamation, also known as alkaline hydrolysis, is a process in which a body is cremated using water and alkaline solutions rather than fire. It is considered a more environmentally friendly alternative to traditional cremation, which produces emissions and requires the use of fossil fuels.
The aquamation process begins by placing the body in a steel container, which is then filled with a mixture of water and potassium hydroxide. The mixture is heated to a high temperature, typically between 160-180 degrees Celsius, and the natural breakdown of the body occurs. This process typically takes between 3-4 hours.
After the body has been reduced to a liquid mixture, the liquid is drained from the container and the remaining bones are placed in a machine that grinds them into a powder-like consistency.
This powder, known as cremated remains, is then returned to the family of the deceased.
Aquamation is often referred to by several different names, including "water cremation," "flameless cremation," "green cremation," "liquid cremation," and "bio-cremation." Each of these names reflects a different aspect of the aquamation process, such as its use of water, its environmental benefits, or its similarity to traditional cremation.
The owner receives on average 20% more leftovers from aquamation, than they would get from a flame burning. In fact, according to the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), there are no air fumes and no large amount of energy is consumed during the aquamation process, so there are no "air fumes."
With a standard cremation there is a need to vent to gases and fumes, albeit filtered, out into the enviroment. Omission of these gases results in significant amounts of carbon dioxide (CO2) and other greenhouse gases during combustion.
Although alkaline hydrolysis is relatively new to the funeral industry, aquamation was first used in the 1990s as a sterile method of treating animals infected with mad cow disease, as an alternative to cremation. Lately it has started to become more embraced by the funeral industry as a whole.
Defining Pet And Human Aquamation
In the funeral industry, aquamation is a more cost-intensive disposition method - more effective, safer, and environmentally friendly, than both standard cremation and burial into the ground. One of the reasons aquamation is considered a green choice is that the process releases less mercury than the same process that occurs in nature. The mercury emissions that occur during cremation only accelerate and the bodies buried in the ground do not.
During aquamination, the body, whether it be a deceased pet or a human, is gently placed in a container, if applicable, which is then placed in a clean stainless steel container. The combination of water flow, temperature and alkalinity is used to accelerate the natural process of tissue hydrolysis.
Aquamation, technically known as alkaline hydrolysis, is used to break down remains. It uses a catalyst called alkali, the chemical opposite of acid. A combination of alkalis (sodium and potassium hydroxide) is used to dissolve the body. The whole process is based around speeding up the nature decomposition of a body, a process which takes years when the beloved is buried underground.
With Aquamation, this process or reduction and complete removal of the organic tissue is reduced to hrs instead of years. All that is left is the bones, which similar to the cremation process, are then placed in a specialized machine to reduce the bones to a more symetrical particle size.
The process is clean for the environment and the water is so clean that it can even be used for water for agricultural crops.
The Aquamation Process
A combination of warm water flow and alkalinity is used to accelerate the natural process of tissue hydrolysis. In essence, the process is similar to that that occurs during the natural decomposition of a body in the soil, but it is an accelerated version of it. It uses a mixture of hot water, steam and a solution of high pressure and low temperature water to accelerate natural processes such as tissue breakdown.
At the end of the aquamination process, all soft tissue has dissolved and only the skeletal remains remain, as in cremation. The body has not liquefied, as many organisations would have us believe, but has been decomposed in an accelerated fashion.
This process of using water flow, temperature and alkalinity to break down proteins, fats and carbohydrates until only bones are left is slowly becoming recognized as an alternative to the energy excessive process of flame cremation.
Once left with only the bones, then the remains are treated exactly the same as with the cremation process. There is one feature of this process that stands above the cremation process and that is that as the body was initially placed into its own container, then the remains are 100 percent pure of any un-noticed possible contaminants with a flame cremation. This especially appeals to pet lovers, as they know their loved ones small bones are not mixed up.
Aquamation From A Medical Perspective
One of the main advantages of aquamation from a medical perspective is that it can help to prevent the spread of infectious diseases. Because the aquamation process uses heat and chemical solutions to break down the body, it is effective at killing any pathogens that may be present. This can help to prevent the transmission of infectious diseases through contact with the remains, which can be a concern with traditional cremation and burial methods.
Another advantage of aquamation is that it can help to reduce the risk of exposure to potentially harmful chemicals. Traditional cremation uses high heat to incinerate the body, which can release toxic chemicals into the air. Aquamation, on the other hand, uses a gentle, chemical-free process to break down the body, which reduces the risk of exposure to these chemicals.
In addition, aquamation can also be more efficient and cost-effective than traditional cremation. Because the aquamation process uses water and alkaline solutions to break down the body, it typically takes less time and uses fewer resources than traditional cremation. This can make aquamation more affordable for families, as well as more sustainable from an environmental perspective.
Is Aquamation A Better Alternative to Traditional Funeral Arrangements ?
There are a few reasons why aquamation may be considered a better funeral concept than cremation or traditional burial. One of the main advantages of aquamation is that it is considered more environmentally friendly than traditional cremation. Because aquamation uses water and alkaline solutions instead of fire, it produces fewer emissions and does not require the use of fossil fuels.
This means that aquamation has a lower carbon footprint than traditional cremation, which can help to reduce the overall impact of funeral services on the environment.
Another advantage of aquamation is that it can be less expensive than traditional cremation. Because aquamation is a more efficient process, it typically takes less time and uses fewer resources, which can make it more affordable for families. In addition, because the remains can be processed into a powder-like consistency, aquamation can also save families the cost of purchasing an urn or other type of container for the remains.
Finally, aquamation is often seen as a more dignified and respectful way to handle the remains of a deceased person.
Because the aquamation process is gentle and chemical-free, it is considered to be less traumatic for the family of the deceased.
It can also provide families with more options for memorialization and final disposition of the remains, such as scattering or burial in a natural setting.
Conclusion on Aquamation.
We will discuss further aspects on aquamation in other articles which can be found below, but whilst the flame cremation process has advanced to a point where it has become stagnant, the cleaner remains produced in a less enviromental impacting way, are moving ahead in taking a percentage of the cremation market.
Its easy to see why, 100 percent your beloved remains, clean and efficient and whilst we hold an intrinsic visual value to a beloved being reduced to ashes by the power of the flame, maybe the natural return to nature, in a more passive way, is the new direction for todays globally aware clients.
And as we said before, yes, at Cremation Ink ® we use aquamation remains of your beloved to make a high quality infused ink, combined with your loved ones remains for the ultimate memorial tattoo.
To find out more about this process, click one of the links from the navigation menu to find out more, or read more about Aquamation in the other articles below.