“Promession” is a new alternative to cremation and uses a special freeze-drying technique to reduce the body to a power substance.
Promession advocates say it is one of the most environmentally-friendly means of disposition. Developed in Sweden by Susanne Wiigh-Mäsak, Promession (a variation of the Italian word for “promise”) is a relatively simple process that breaks down human remains into a fine powder, with no release of toxins into the air or high energy use as usually happens with cremation.
Within a week and a half after death, the body is submerged in liquid nitrogen which removes the water (70% of the body) and causes the body to become brittle. It is then exposed to vibrations that reduce the remains into a fine, organic powder weighing about 30% of the original mass. The powder is dried and any metals present can be removed for recycling. Remains can be stored indefinitely if contained in a vacuum-sealed container (exposure to moisture will allow for natural decomposition), or one can opt for a “green” eco-friendly burial.
Currently promession is not available in the United States.