Thursday, January 10, 2008

Body Burning: Mourners warm to the idea

For economists efficiency is a key concept.

The news that a crematorium near Manchester is considering using the heat from its body burning furnaces to warm the mourners makes perfect economic sense and it will help reduce carbon emissions. Everyone is a winner.

The question is whether the mourners, if offered a choice, would rather stay a little chilly.

Crematorium may use its heat to warm mourners [Reuters]

A British crematorium is considering using heat from its body-burning furnaces to also keep the mourners warm in its chapel.

The council for the district of Tameside near Manchester is considering recycling the heat from the furnaces of its crematorium in Dukinfield as part of a drive to reduce carbon emissions.

"It's a sensitive issue, people have different views. I am sure some think we are just burning bodies to provide heat, but we are not doing that," Tameside Council's Head of Environment Operations, Robin Monk, told Reuters.

The proposal is for effluent gas to be passed through heat exchangers which will then heat up water that can be pumped into the chapel's radiators. There is another plan to send the gases to a turbine to create electricity.

"What do you do with waste gas?" Monks said. "At the moment it's just being sent up a chimney and into the atmosphere. We can make good use of it," he said.


"The families don't need to feel that it is their beloved that is warming them up, there is no direct connection with the body at any given service."

Cremation furnaces are capable of generating 870-980 degrees Celsius (1600-1800 degrees Fahrenheit) heat. Instead of using such massive energy solely to cremate one body at a time, Tameside council wants to harness that energy to go towards heating and lighting the chapel.


"It has nothing to do with, putting it crudely, burning bodies. There may be ghoulish scenes in people's minds, but it's not like that, It's simply using the gas more efficiently."


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