Dead people power: Crematorium to generate, sell electricity from corpses

One UK crematorium wants to install turbines in two of its burners and use them to generate - and possibly sell -- the electricity to the grid.

Durham Crematorium has announced a rather macabre, yet innovative plan to harness the heat from the dead people it burns via a set of turbines and generate electricity. Initially, the turbines, which could eventually produce enough electricity to power 1,500 televisions, will be used to heat and provide power to the building, reported the Telegraph. But the turbines will produce more power than the crematorium needs and could be sold to the UK's National Grid.

And because this corpse-sourced electricity isn't fossil fuel based, the crematorium could receive compensation from utilities under the country's feed-in tariffs program .

The project is part of the crematorium's furnace replacement project, which was initiated to meet UK government standards to keep mercury emissions from reaching the atmosphere. And it turns out, crematorium contribute a fair amount of mercury emissions. Crematorium's contribute 16 percent of all mercury emitted in the UK because of fillings in teeth, the Telegraph reported. Without these government targets, that figured has been forecast to rise to 25 percent by the end of the decade.

The crematorium has planned a series of open days in hopes of garnering public support for the project. The superintendent told the Telegraph the crematorium is anxious not to upset folks over the plans. I'm not sure how solar panels could be more controversial than dead body-generated electricity, but the superintendent said plans for a rooftop installation were already rejected to avoid "upsetting people."

[Via: The Telegraph]

Photo: Flickr user katerha, CC 2.0

Related:

This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com