Promession is an environmentally friendly way to dispose of human remains by way of freeze drying. The concept of promession was developed by Swedish biologist Susanne Wiigh-Mäsak, who derived the name from the Italian word for "promise" (promessa). She founded Promessa Organic AB in 1997 to commercially pursue her idea.
Promession involves five steps:
- Coffin separation: the body is placed into the chamber
- Cryogenic freezing: liquid nitrogen at -196 °C crystallizes the body
- Vibration: the body is disintegrated into particles within minutes
- Freeze drying: particles are freeze dried in a drying chamber, leaving approximately 30% of the original weight
- Metal separation: any metals (e.g., tooth amalgam, artificial hips, etc.) are removed, either by magnetism or by sieving. The dry powder is placed in a biodegradable casket which is interred in the top layers of soil, where aerobic bacteria decompose the remains into humus in as little as 6–12 months.
From 2004, trials have been performed on pigs, and AGA Gas developed a proof-of-concept. However a third party is needed to enter into an agreement with Promessa to order the equipment needed for promession of human cadavers.
The BBC has shown a proof of concept to work with relatively simple means.
Wiigh-Mäsak had received expressions of interest from more than 60 countries, including Vietnam, the United Kingdom, South Africa, the Netherlands, Canada, and the United States. In South Korea, the technology was expressly legalized. Currently, Wiigh-Mäsak works with groups, countries, and people of all kinds to find support for her company and lifelong passion, encouraging others to show support through membership and donation for Promessa.
- Holst, Karen (13 April 2011). "Swedish green-burial firm to turn frozen corpses in compost". Retrieved 26 September 2012.
- McNally, Patrick (30 September 2008). "Promession: A Return to the Living Soil". Daily Undertaker. Retrieved 26 September 2012.
- Stansfield, Jem (16 April 2013). "Bang Goes The Theory". Retrieved 8 May 2013.
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- http://www.promessa.se Promessa Website