Please note that promession is currently not a service offered by Orbitas Bereavement Services. The following article is for information purposes only.
The promession process
The process involves freeze-drying the remains, which are then reduced to a white powder. The remains are then placed in a biodegradeable casket, which is then interred in a shallow grave. A memorial tree or bush can be placed above the interment site. Within a year, the contents have decomposed and have been converted to loam, nourishing the newly planted memorial. The company, Promessa, claims that this is ecologically friendly.
The funeral director will ask the person making the arrangements for the disposal of the deceased what type of coffin they would want. The process can accommodate the same kind of coffin as that used for cremation. It is hoped however that people will choose an environmentally friendly coffin eg constructed of either cardboard, leaf tree as birch or willow, or maybe bamboo. If the family wish for a more ornate/traditional coffin then it is suggested that a reusable coffin of this design be used as an outer shell in which the environmental coffin can be placed.
There will not necessarily be a difference in the format used for cremation in the funeral service. The coffin will be placed on a catafalque at the "Promatorium" and remain there until the committal has been said and the bereaved have left the building. The coffin will then be removed into a chamber where the body will be frozen to –18 degrees Celsius, in an ordinary mechanical freezer. This will take between 24 and 48 hours.
Once the body has cooled to –18 degrees Celsius, it is ready to be placed on to a moving platform that will transport the coffin through the different stages of the process, this part of the process takes place within a sealed unit, the Promator.
The coffin is first weighed, to determine how much liquid nitrogen will be required to freeze the body to –196 degrees Celsius, the calculation will be carried out automatically by specially designed weighing machines, and based on 1kg liquid nitrogen per 1kg of body weight. This cooling process will take 2 hours, and the liquid nitrogen will meanwhile evaporate into the atmosphere (where it originally came from), in its natural gas form of nitrogen.
Once the body has reached –196 it will be mechanically transported onto a belt which will give off small, 5 millimetres, vibrations. This part of the process takes approximately 60 seconds.
The powder will then move into a vacuum chamber where clean water will evaporate and be dispersed into the atmosphere as natural steam.
The dry powder passes through electrical currents, which will extract any metals that exist. The metals will be placed in a container ready to be recycled.
The dry powder residue, which will weigh approximately one third of the original body weight, will within the sealed unit be placed into a bio-degradable coffin (1 metre square by area and 2 metres high).
Incorporated into the coffin will be an iron-net that will rust away, which is a natural mineral found in soil and is not harmful to the environment. This will protect the remains from disturbance by animals etc.
The coffin will be buried to a depth of approximately half a metre. In approximately 6 to 12 months the remains and the coffin will have become part of the life giving nutrients of the soil. It is suggested that a plant or trees be placed on the grave to feed on the nutrients and become a symbol of the person or just a possibility for new life.
Alternatively it will be possible for the promains (the organic metal free dry powder) to be cremated in a smaller incinerator/furnace, if the ashes are scattered or buried in a biodegradable urn.