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Cryomation has been developed in the UK in partnership with the Micro-Biology & Life Science department at the University of Hertfordshire, the R&D teams at Hosokawa Micron and Air Products Plc.

Their process has now been fully tested and proto-typed and is now moving to the full pre-production build of the first Cryomator. According to their website, the first “unit will be available by September 2010 with full tests completed by January 2011”. They are currently looking for pilot sites around the UK, and so this really could be available quite soon. In short, its an alternative to cremation.

The Technology

The process itself uses Liquid Nitrogen to freeze the body to -196 degrees C until the body is brittle. The body is then fragmented, foreign metal objects removed, and body materials returned to the process. The remains are then freeze dried under a range of vacuumed conditions to remove the moisture. The patented process ensures that the final powder is sterile and 100% free of all bacteria and viruses. An accelerated composting process further reduces the mass and means that what is returned can itself, generate and sustain life.

Benefits for the Public

– Compared to Cremation, the Cryomation process has 0% emissions (no mercury, dioxins or CO2).

– All of the body is returned (less the moisture) instead of approximately 2.5% of the body with Cremation (which just consists of the crushed calcified bone).

– Remains are returned in a form that gives life, (ie. you can plant a flower or tree with the remains) and in doing so complete the “circle of life” prefered by many religions.

– If you bury the remains from Cryomation, then this would return to loam in the ground in 6-12 months. In this case you could have one plot (a 3rd of the traditional plot size) that could be sustainably used in the family for generations to come. Resulting in a true “Family Tree”.

Benefits to the Industry

– Compared to traditional burial there is a considerable space/land saving, which is an big issue for many overcrowded urbanised burial gorunds.

– With governments across the world tightening up on green house gas emissions, and following an EU directive, crematoria must achieve a 50% reduction in mercury emissions by 2012, Cryomation addresses the legislation head on by reducing this emissions figure to 0%

– As this process has little environmental impact, obtaining planning consent is far easier to obtain for a Cryomator than a new incinerator or Cremator.

– With the growth of “Green” burial sites throughout the UK, Cryomation offers true land sustainability as the plot can be reused for other family members if they so wish, and burial can take place without tree root disturbance, if in an existing wooded area. Also, the majority of these sites will not take a body that has been embalmed, due to toxins in the embalming fluid – Cryomation deals with with this and any other contaminents/toxins, leaving the resultant “Cryomains” safe and sterile for any green burial.

*Recent Awards for Innovation*

The possibility of Cryomation becoming a reality came a little closer on Feb 18th 2010 when they won the Shellspringboard Climate Change Innovation Prize. Shell reviewed thousands of UK businesses who, in their words, offer compelling plans for a product or service which helps combat climate change. Having reviewed thousands of UK companies throughout 2009, Cryomation Ltd were shortlisted and then went on to win.

*For more information on Cryomation, go to www.cryomation.co.uk*

* Cryomation Update – July 2010 *

Cryomation Limited has just signed a joint initiative agreement with leading Netherlands funeral service group, Yarden BV, (www.yarden.nl) that will bring this alternative to traditional cremations a step closer to commercial reality.

Yarden operates 41 funeral centres and 22 crematoria, carrying out over 25,000 cremations a year, and also has 1 million policyholder customers, making it the largest such firm in the Netherlands.

Cryomation Ltd business development director, Richard Maclean, says “Working with Yarden will help us accelerate the commercial deployment of Cryomation and gain specialist industry support in key areas such as social acceptance, market positioning and legislative approval for the Dutch market. We aim to replicate this and introduce the Cryomation process across multiple international markets, including Britain, in the future.”