Aquamation, or alkaline hydrolysis, is a process in which the body of the deceased is immersed for few hours in a mixture of water and a strong alkali in a pressurized metal cylinder which is heated to around 150 degree centigrade.
The process of aquamation uses energy which is five times less than fire. It also reduces the amount of greenhouse gases that are emitted during cremation by about 35%.
The combination of gentle water flow, temperature and alkalinity accentuate the breakdown of the organic materials. The process leaves behind bone fragments and a neutral liquid called effluent. The effluent is sterile and contains salts, sugars, amino acids and peptides. There is no tissue and no DNA left after the process is completed. This effluent is discharged with all other wastewater. It is considered to be an environmental friendly way to dispose of a body and the process is also known as water cremation, green cremation or chemical cremation.
The process was developed and patented in 1888 by Amos Herbert Hanson.