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Alkaline Hydrolysis

Compassionate, personalized & affordable services.

Offering a new, more natural cremation process


In the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s, before there was a cremation society and before crematories even existed in New Hampshire, the Cournoyer Funeral Home & Cremation Center was able to easily fulfill the requests of families who wanted cremation simply by working with our friends in neighboring states. Today, we are very pleased to announce that we are doing that again. We have affiliated ourselves with Natural Green Cremation of Maine to be able to provide the new, more environmentally friendly form of disposition known as Alkaline Hydrolysis to any family requesting this level of care.

More than ever before, we as a society are striving to become more ecologically friendly. We are constantly looking to technology to define better ways to accomplish the things we must do.  On the highway, we are moving toward lower-emission combustion engines, and cars that generate and run on electricity rather than fossil fuels, and wind mills and solar panels are popping up around the country to lessen our reliance on carbon-based solutions.

Funeral Service is no exception.

Traditionally, Cremation is a process that relies heavily on fossil fuels to heat a retort, or specially designed oven to very high temperatures for the purpose of reducing a human body to bone fragments (commonly referred to as cremated remains or ashes).

Alkaline Hydrolysis, also sometimes referred to by the trade names of ‘Biocremation™’ or ‘Resomation®’, is similar to many physiological processes that occur naturally in the body.  Alkaline Hydrolysis converts the tissues and cells of the human body into a neutral watery solution of micromolecules, and leaves behind the bone structure consisting of mineral compounds, such as calcium and phosphates - the very same remains that families are accustomed to scattering or memorializing in an urn, niche, columbarium or cemetery.

Since Alkaline Hydrolysis is not a combustion process, it is more environmentally friendly and does not produce toxic gases or air pollutants.  The total carbon footprint of using the process of Alkaline Hydrolysis is 18 times less than that of a flame-based cremation.  It reduces natural gas usage by 90%, electricity usage by 66%, carbon dioxide emissions by 90%, and is 100% mercury-free.  As cremation rates nation wide in the U.S. exceeded 50% in 2015, it is easy to see the accumulative benefit of using this form of disposition.

Supporters of this new process include the Department of Anatomy at the Mayo Clinic, who uses Alkaline Hydrolysis as a method of final disposition for their whole-body donors.

Even the Catholic Church, who has sound theological reasons for its unswerving promotion of burial as the normative practice for bodily disposition, has reviewed Alkaline Hydrolysis just as it did with Cremation.  In the Winter 2008 edition of The National Catholic Bioethics Quarterly,  Sr. Renée Mirkes, O.S.F., Ph.D., director of the Center for NaProEthics, the ethics division of the Pope Paul VI Institute, in Omaha, Nebraska, wrote ‘The Mortuary Science of Alkaline Hydrolysis, Is It Ethical?’  Sr. Mirkes stated in her article ‘The process of alkaline hydrolysis is, in and of itself, a morally neutral action. When chosen for serious reasons, that is, out of necessity and in a way that confesses belief in the resurrection of the body; alkaline hydrolysis is a moral means of final bodily disposition.

The Cournoyer Funeral Home & Cremation Center is proud to be the first and currently the only firm in New Hampshire affiliated with Natural Green Cremation of Maine.  While Alkaline Hydrolysis is still being discussed in the NH Legislature, it is believed ‘ought to pass’ and will hopefully soon be allowed within our state boundaries.  For now, while we may have to travel next door to Maine, we are still able to offer this new, dignified, natural cremation process to anyone who chooses it, at the facility in Searsport, Maine, which was the first in the country to offer this new natural cremation system.

Please contact us today with your questions or for more information on how we can help you with this new environmentally friendly choice.