To put it quite simply, bio-cremation uses the chemical reaction of pressurized water, potassium hydroxide and electric heat to dissolve the cadavers. It's very similar to what happens over a long period of time to a body that is buried, this new method just accelerates that process. But similar to standard cremations, what's left is some ash and bones that will be given to the family in an urn.
This Reuters article goes a little more in depth about bio-cremation:
"Under the new method, bodies are placed in a steel machine resembling an over-sized washing machine called the Resomator. The bodies are then immersed in a chemical bath and the remains are broken down by a process known as alkaline hydrolysis using water at high temperatures."
"The solution contains alkali, a substance found in cosmetics and liquid soaps. The whole process lasts about three to four hours, slightly longer than heat cremations."
The eco-benefits to this Resomator machine is that it uses far less energy than the typical cremation process and according to Steve Schaal, the head of Matthews Cremation who distributes the Resomator machines "reducing carbon output by 75 percent." Also, the chemicals used on the bodies can be safely be disposed of down the drain as it contains no harmful chemicals, toxins or waste.
"The solution that is discharged is a sterile-based solution. There is no DNA whatsoever because the process breaks down the body to the basic amino acids," stated John McQueen, the funeral home president.
"What goes into the waste water treatment system is probably cleaner than most things that go into the waste water treatment system from our house or hospitals or nursing homes or other places."
Watch the video below to see the process.
Anderson-McQueen Funeral Home: 2201 Dr. Martin Luther King Junior Street N., St. Pete, 727-822-2059, andersonmcqueen.com