What is Hydro Cremation?

Let's take a scientific look at the Alkaline Hydrolysis process.

When we die, autolysis is the natural method of decomposition, just as food in the intestine is digested and transformed into nutrients by protease. Human bodies are 70% water and when buried under the earth we decompose, as the body compounds separate into simpler substances by action of microbial and/or autolytic enzymes. Lysosomes are organelles within cells that contain hydrolytic enzymes (lysozymes) that break down proteins and certain carbohydrates. This enzymatic action continues to occur after death.

Hydro Cremation is the water reduction process, known scientifically as Alkaline Hydrolysis. The hydro cremation process uses water instead of fire. Hydrolysis is a process of breaking apart with an enzyme. The addition of water into a chemical bond with the help of enzymes leads to cleavage.

The Alkaline hydrolysis process has been used worldwide in laboratory and research applications. It is a fully automated process of pressure, high temperature, and alkalinity to accelerate the natural process of tissue hydrolysis decomposition by using a strong alkali (pH 14) to solubilize and hydrolyze tissue, expedited by heat at 150°C in a pressurized vessel. The integral load cells weigh the body and the appropriate amount of water and alkali are added automatically to the vessel.

The vessel is quickly heated via steam to around 150°C (~300°F) and the body is resolved to its component elements. The entire process is complete in 2-3 hours. This process generates a solution of amino acids, peptides, sugars, and soap (salts of fatty acids) that is suitable and safe for release into the environment. The process is environmentally friendly because it does not generate air pollution and the embalming fluid is neutralized into a harmless chemical compound. It incurs 20 times less CO2 emissions vs. average cremation. It is energy efficient, using 1/10th the energy per body versus cremation. It allows possible salvage of surgically-inserted foreign items in the body, like pacemakers, replacement joints and pins, which remain sterile and intact for recovery and possible re-use. It is projected that within 5 years hundreds of machines will be in use in California, Oregon, and Washington.

By mimicking a body’s natural chemical process of decomposition, it breaks down the human chemical makeup of 65% Oxygen, 18% Carbon, 10% Hydrogen, 3% Nitrogen, 1.5% Calcium, 1% Phosphorus and 1.5% total of remaining additional elements, reducing CO2 emissions in the process.

The Alkaline Hydrolysis Process

  • A body is placed into the Aquapyre, hydrocremation unit.
  • The vessel is filled with an alkali solution of 95 percent water with 5 percent potassium hydroxide.
  • The solution and flow reduces the remains into amino acids, small peptides, sugars, nutrients, and soapy lather.
  • After rinsing, drying and processing, a pure white ash is returned to the family.


Benefits of Hydro Cremation (Alkaline Hydrolysis)

  • No harmful mercury emissions.
  • Far less energy used than in traditional cremation.
  • No burning of caskets.
  • Cleaner - No emitting of toxins or dioxins into the atmosphere.
  • Less carbon dioxide production than incineration cremation.
  • Bone ash remains are 100% unique to the individual
  • Byproducts enrich soil chemistry.
  • The bone ash (Calcium Phosphate) are 100% sterile completely neutralized disease and pathogen free.

Did You Know About Water Burial in Tibet?

In Tibet, "Water Burial" is practiced. This is where bodies are placed in lakes to decompose naturally. The alkaline hydrolysis process is essentially the same type of disposition with the exception of the length of time it takes for the body to be reduced to ash.

Please share your thoughts on the Hydro Cremation. Will you choose hydro cremation? Why or why not?