Sunday, January 4, 2009

Creative Heating in Halmstad, Sweden

Using human flesh as the raw material for food, compost, or other material to sustain the living has long been the stuff of horror movies and children’s nightmares. In the Swedish town of Halmstad, they have found a way to harness the power of the crematorium to heat the homes of the townsfolk.

Halmstad officials carried out an environmental check of the crematorium and their monitoring indicated that too much smoke was exiting the chimneys. Planning for improvements began and this was the result.

“It was when we were discussing all these environmental issues that we started thinking about the energy that is used in the cremations and realised that instead of all that heat just going up into the air, we could make use of it somehow. It was just rising into the skies for nothing," said Lennart Andersson, the director of the cemetery in the town of Halmstad.

The filtration of off-gases is extremely important because cremation can release toxins such as mercury from dental fillings. This is done by cooling the gases from around 1000°C to under 150°C (1832°F to 320°F). The heat will be used first to heat the crematorium buildings and later to feed the public heating system. This will save costs and use less water as well.

Congratulations Halmstad for your forward thinking!

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