Environmental protection in cremation and cremators

The ecology in crematorium is still taboo. The internet is full of “pseudo-experts” who claim that the crematoriums are harmful to the environment and health. They are wrong.

The cremation process is the less harmful and, at the same time, the most economical way of burying people in Europe.

Few people are aware of how high the demands of new cemeteries construction are. That is why a construction of new medium size cemetery that obey all the regulations costs several million Euros – they come from our taxes. We also have to add the price of the land. New cemetery construction can also meet the local resistance. Cremation process changes the human body into clean ash that does not contain any biological contaminants and that can be placed in a grave or columbarium. The urns don’t occupy a lot of space, so the capacity of cemeteries grows. And what about the emissions? One of the myths is that there is a black smoke that escapes the crematory chimney. If there is a black smoke, it means that there is a problem with the furnace or the regulations. There are also some examples of the owners that were lowering the temperature in the thermal filters to “reduce the exploration costs”. Properly designed and made furnace should comply with the Directive 2000/76/CE and should not emit black smoke.

All the furnaces that we offer fulfill this Directive. The gases they emit are completely colorless and odorless.

We have results of measurements of emissions made in many crematories equipped with our installations and they confirm that the emissions from our furnaces are much lower than limits required by law. 

Cremation process is to burn a coffin with a body at high temperatures, using air and gas or fuel oil as an auxiliary fuel. The source of contamination is the fuel itself and the coffin with the body. The fuel components are the very same as those from the fuel we use everyday in our houses. The amount of natural gas that the furnace uses for one cremation is from several to several tens of m3. It means that the pollution from the fuel itself is the same as what the chimneys from our houses emit. And what about the pollution from the human body? Human body consists of 70-80% of water, all the rest is mostly nitrogen and carbon and a small amount of sulfur. The results of the combustion of these products are the oxides (of nitrogen, carbon and sulfur) and water vapor. Depending on where we live, the body contains very little amounts of heavy metals. Coffin itself is made from organic materials – wood or cardboard – so is environmentally friendly.
There are two phases of the cremation process.
The first phase consists of coffin burning and body incineration – solid changes to gas and ash. The gases produced in the first phase of cremation are burnt in the post-combustion chamber. The burnt gases can only contain nitrogen oxides, sulfur dioxide, carbon dioxide and steam. They must not and they do not contain dioxins and furans, which are forbidden carcinogenic elements. The level of heavy metals is so low that it is below the limit of detection. To sum up, the gases emitted from crematorium chimneys contain the minimal amount of pollution so that they are safe for the environment and for the people who live nearby.

A few years ago Marsan, Spanish independent institute, made the measurements and compared the pollution emitted by crematories with the pollution produced by cars and smokers. The results were surprising.

One cremation furnace, which carries out no more than 600 cremations a year, produce the pollutions comparable to:

• 3 cars up to 3.5 tones with petrol engines that run 20.000 km/year each – CO emissions (carbon monoxide)

• 7 cars up to 3.5 tones with diesel engines that run 20.000 km/year – CO emissions;

• 200 smokers who smoke a pack of cigarettes a day – particles emissions;

• 415 smokers who smoke a pack of cigarettes a day – CO emissions;

• 530 smokers who smoke a pack a day – NOx emissions (nitrogen oxides)

In our local conditions it would be good to make this kind of comparison with the emissions that produce the coal heating stoves, where very often people burn forbidden materials. The regular coal heating stoves do not have any filtration system, so the emissions can be really harmful and dangerous.