Cremation is known for being a more eco-friendly option than traditional burial, but that doesn’t mean improvements can’t be made. Now that the majority of Americans choose cremation for body disposition there’s a concerted effort to make the process as green as possible.
Some crematoriums are going solar to power their cremation chambers in an effort to reduce the carbon footprint, but that’s just one novel idea that’s being utilized. Currently, nonrenewable natural gas is the primary energy source used for cremation, but if one Australian firm is successful natural gas could soon be replaced by green hydrogen.
What is Green Hydrogen?
First, let’s go over what green hydrogen is exactly. Hydrogen is a naturally occurring gas that is a basic element of water when combined with oxygen. Hydrogen is the H in H2O.
Scientists have discovered ways to produce hydrogen, but some of the methods are far from eco-friendly. Green hydrogen is hydrogen that’s produced by renewable resources. Often it’s generated by using electricity from renewables to split water into hydrogen and oxygen. The hydrogen gas can then be burned to generate heat energy that can be used for more than just cremation.
What the funeral industry is excited about is the fact that the only byproduct of burning hydrogen is water. So if the hydrogen is produced in an eco-friendly way it’s all-around better for cremation. That is, if hydrogen can generate the heat needed to cremate.
Can Green Hydrogen Be Used in Cremation?
Cremation requires a high level of heat. The chamber has to get up to 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit for 90 minutes in order to cremate. This not only uses gas, but it also produces gas-related emissions like carbon dioxide.
So the goal of green cremation is twofold: to find renewable energy sources that can power cemation chambers and reduce harmful byproducts that release emissions and cause air pollution.
One firm in Australia thinks that green hydrogen is the solution. Earlier this year, Australian Engineering Solutions Pty Ltd was awarded funds to explore the potential of using green hydrogen for cremation. The company is conducting a feasibility study that will use a blend of renewable hydrogen and natural gas in cremation furnaces to determine if the hydrogen can be used to generate enough heat.
If they’re successful using the blend of hydrogen and natural gas, Australian Engineering Solutions will move towards using 100% green hydrogen. In addition, the company will be designing a prototype cremation chamber that is made for burning hydrogen. From there the objective is to share the findings so that crematoriums around the world can provide greener services.
The technology looks very promising, but there are no guarantees. Australian Engineering Solutions’ feasibility study will be a first step toward determining if using hydrogen for cremation is possible, economical and efficient.
For now, families and individuals that want services with the smallest carbon footprint should consider aquamation, also called alkaline hydrolysis or water cremation. Instead of being flame-based, aquamation uses water solution that is heated. It’s just as effective as traditional cremation but produces fewer harmful byproducts.
At Green Cremation Texas our mission is to help more families have access to green cremation options. One way we do that is by staying up-to-date on the latest crematorium technologies that make our services better for people and the environment. If you’d like to know more about green cremation and how it works, please give our team a call, text or email. We’re available seven days a week.