Promession

Promession Graveyard by Jenny Karlmark

Promession is an ecologically-conscious method for disposing of human remains by freeze drying. It was invented and patented in 1999 by Swedish biologist Susanne Wiigh-Mäsak. The method begins by reducing the body of the deceased to a fine powder, thereby allowing subsequent decomposition to be aerobic. This is achieved by submerging the body in liquid nitrogen, making the remains so brittle that they shatter into a powder as the result of slight vibrations. The powder is then dried, reducing the deceased remains to around 30% of their original body weight. Next, an electromagnet pulls out metals within the powdered remains (including mercury, which is only magnetic at cryogenic temperature, which are recycled. Finally, the powder is buried shallowly in a biodegradable cornstarch box. Seeds planted in the soil draw nutrients from the remains. Below two feet, at the depth which coffins are traditionally buried, there is no oxygen, which is one of the prerequisites for composting or aerobic decomposition to take place. But despite this, the dead are buried at a depth where the oxygen is missing; therefore the deceased are exposed to a negative putrefaction process or anaerobic decomposition.

It is the lack of oxygen combined with the amount of remains that causes the body to not decompose, but effectively putrify in an ordinary burial, With such large bodies, humans always start to rot if not first broken down into smaller parts so that oxygen can reach all body parts. In the past this would have been done by wild animals. It is important to remember that even the powder produced by Promession would not compost at 2 meters below ground, due to the lack of oxygen. The same applies to a body that is above ground or in the upper soil layers with high availability of oxygen. Despite the high oxygen content, the body still putrefies because the body is intact and whole and anaerobic conditions are already present in the gut . It is not enough for one or the other. Proper composting or aerobic decomposition of a corpse requires a combination of fragmentation of the body, oxygen-rich soil and micro-and macro-organisms. Therefore Promession is a modern and ethical manner to transform the body into smaller parts to get it to compost correctly and return to soil without the negative side effects associated with putrefaction.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.