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United States Patent 5701642 - An ecological burial apparatus and method are accomplished by placing a corpse into a coffin structure made of a material containing a nutrient or fertilizer or combinations thereof. The corpse and coffin structure are buried in the ground and a tree is planted above the coffin structure so that when the coffin structure biodegrades the nutrient or fertilizer or combinations thereof are capable of being supplied to the tree to create an ecologically sound environment. (This method would only work in an aerobic environment, as the bacteria and fungi responsible for decomposition need oxygen. Below ground there are very much reduced oxygen levels, which is why no 'normal burial' can be truly green, as anaerobic decomposition releases methane, a potent greenhouse gas. John Cossham, York, UK 17:54, 6 April 2012 (UTC) )

United States Patent 6516501 - Method and apparatus for ecological burial, an urn which comprises a series of pod-like containers made of compressed organic matter, porcelain, and glass, designed to function as cinerary urns (i.e. receptacles for human ashes) is disclosed. The urn is meant to interact with its surroundings by dissolving into it, and eventually producing a living monument, in the form of a tree, or a plant, in memory of the deceased person whose ashes it contains.

Searching the Centre for Natural Burial website (with an archive of over 300 natural burial articles dating back to 1995) with the search string "ecological burial" returns a single article (which is NOT related to Promessa) while searching for Promessa or Promession returns half a dozen articles each. The popular media does not recognize "ecological burial" with this process.

"for one thing why would it be necessary to freeze the body in Liquid Nitrogen?" So it will shatter when vibrated. The aim is to reduce the body to a dry powder. I've read (in New Scientist if I recall correctly) that plants love the stuff.

Nitrogen is a common element of the atmosphere. When it evaporates, it combines into N2 molecules and resumes its natural place as a component of air. They also dry out the remains before burial, so most of the nitrogen and water would be gone before you went in the ground. How does the saying go, that without water, we are nothing but a few dollars' worth of chemicals? MFNickster 07:22, 25 March 2006 (UTC)

I don't think Hibernian was questioning the effects of nitrogen on the environment, but the production of that quantity of liquid nitrogen's effect on the environment. --saisugoi 13:45, 27 March 2006 (UTC)

Indeed I was not questioning whether Nitrogen is harmful to the Environment, obviously it isn't, I am however questioning why it is necessary, in a so called ecological funeral, to use all these Industrial Processes, which would be harmful to the environment (such as creating and using Liquid Nitrogen and this "Vibrating" thing too). Can anyone tell me what the Carbon footprint of this Method is? I would bet it is significantly larger than a normal burial.
--Hibernian 07:54, 1 April 2006 (UTC)
Commercial liquid nitrogen is produced by the fractional distillation of liquid air. Oxygen, argon, krypton, neon, and xenon are produced by the same process. The commercial demand for oxygen (both gaseous and liquid) is huge, so liquid nitrogen is really just a byproduct. The cost of liquid nitrogen (about $0.30/gal IIRC) is mostly in transportation and depends on how close you are to a liquid air plant. Refrigerating all that nitrogen until use does take energy, but it also takes a lot of energy and wood to make a modern coffin. Homo stannous 02:15, 4 April 2006 (UTC)
Furthermore, the article states that the purpose of turning the body to dust is to permit aerobic decomposition rather than anaerobic decomposition. I don't know how much that helps (I've heard elsewhere that aerobic decomposition is dominant only in the top 6" of soil), but anaerobic decomposition produces methane, which is a much worse greenhouse gas than CO2. I suspect that the only reason why they dry the body afterward is to keep the coffin from getting soggy. Homo stannous 15:40, 4 April 2006 (UTC)

Currently, letting a human body rot naturally in a compost heap is not an available option, although it would be the most eco-friendly disposal method (it's being used extensively in the United States for roadkill deer etc and fallen stock, using woodchips). One has to remember the funeral has two functions: disposal of cadavers and as a way for family/friends to say goodbye. Therefore it has to be appropriate for the second function, and the idea of putting a loved-one's body into a heap of woodchips might be thought of as less acceptable than a deep hole or a furnace. However, if it becomes available by the time I die, this is what I'd like. And Promession would be a close second choice, as relatives etc see the small casket buried and could plant a tree on or near the spot. Johncossham (talk) 12:10, 9 September 2009 (UTC)

Also I've never heard of there being any environmental harm to slow decay rates of standard burials. As of cremation, fillings haven't used mercury for decades, and are generally removed before cremation anyways. Also, isn't all the carbon in a human body originally from plants eaten by the person or the things that the person ate, and thus technically not adding significant CO2 to the atmosphere? There is hardly any information on these questions.RuediiX 13:56, 8 May 2007 (UTC)

Cremation uses 50 to 120 cubic metres of fossil gas, adding CO2 to the atmosphere. There are still lots of mercury fillings out there, which is why expensive arresting gear is being added to crematoria. Fillings are not removed as this (I am led to believe) constitutes 'assault' on the body. The process also adds oxides of nitrogen and other pollutants. 'Normal' deep burial adds methane slowly to the atmosphere as the decay is anaerobic, methane being a potent greenhouse gas. Promession is eco-friendly as it uses waste liquid nitrogen and the freeze-dried remains rot aerobically in the top few centimetres of the soil. Johncossham (talk) 11:58, 9 September 2009 (UTC)

AFAIK, all burial methods will result in all the CO2 eventually going into the atmosphere, with the exception of embalming.

The person's diet has little to do with it, except that if they are obese, then it can actually take less energy to cremate them, because the fat burns like fuel. It's grotesque to consider such things, but that's the scientific fact.

People are unlikely to have toxic substances in them unless they died from poisoning, because what is toxic to the environment is typically toxic to humans, especially since it will have the highest concentration in the person. That is probably why they stopped using mercury fillings. Other types of implants are intentionally inert so they won't react biologically. --Mikiemike (talk) 11:25, 16 January 2008 (UTC)

Is this a press release?[edit]

This article reads like a press release for the company. Not sure how to mark that, as I'm only an occasional participant here.

fixed (I hope) Chrismorey (talk) 06:27, 30 August 2013 (UTC)

Regarding the use of liquid nitrogen -- LN2 is a byproduct of producing LOX, so it really isn't all that expensive. Industrial uses of oxygen far outweigh the need for liquid nitrogen. It's sort of like the leather industry being a byproduct of the meat industry; nobody raises cows for their hides, it's just a few extra dollars on top of the value of the meat. (talk) 21:03, 18 April 2011 (UTC)

Update on liquid nitrogen: liquid nitrogen (LN2) is never a 'waste product' of the modern oxygen industry. I had a long conversation about this with Mohammad Kalbassi from about whether the claims that Promessa Organic has made about LN2 being a waste product were true. Certainly, gaseous nitrogen is a byproduct of the liquid oxygen (LOx) production, but where LN2 is made, it always has a buyer and there is very little 'waste' in their industry. According to Kalbassi, the energy required for a metric tonne of LN2 or LOx is 160kWh. John Cossham, York, UK 18:09, 6 April 2012 (UTC) — Preceding unsigned comment added by Johncossham (talkcontribs)


I've improved the tone but the status of the project is not clear from the article. I've marked it "proposed" because no one seems to be actually doing it Chrismorey (talk) 06:27, 30 August 2013 (UTC)


I checked some of the citations and realized that two of the links do not function. Reference number one redirects to 404 Page Not Found, and reference number three is no longer available. Some updates on the references must be made to ensure there is no plagiarism. Also, perhaps adding a citation for Susanne Wiigh-Mäsak would prove helpful, as it may be useful to know about the biologist who developed the whole concept of promession. Inserting diagrams would allow for a better understanding of the holistic process. Lastly, the "Public opinion" section of the article does not equally represent all sides of the argument on promession. Only positive opinions on this form of disposal are presented; it is crucial to denote all sides of the argument. The public opinion poll seems fairly biased, as no potential consequences of promession are included within the article. Portraying the possible detriments of this method of disposal would help to relieve any doubts of impartiality towards promession. Bridginator (talk) 01:20, 29 January 2017 (UTC)