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Promessa AB

Posted: Mon May 11, 2009 5:35 pm
by LoveSickJerk
Hey folks, I have a question for ya'll. I read Stiff (,M1) as part of my research for a film I'm working on, and I need to find out more information on the Swedish company Promessa AB, and their process of Organic Burial. I remembered there being a large number of scientifically minded folk on this board, as well as number of European fans, who might have better access to the information both in language (damn my American monolinguism!) and location.

Everything I've been able to find online (that I can read) appears to be from 2006 or earlier. I wanted to see if anyone knew any additional information about the company, before I sent them any inquiries. Such as if they're still in operation, have other companies adopted the process yet, and if there have been any issues preventing their operation if they're not open. I would love some help if anyone's got information. Thanks everyone!

Re: Promessa AB

Posted: Tue May 12, 2009 12:39 pm
by grant
Well, the company founder, Susanne Wiigh-Masak, seems to be on Linked In, so you could just ask, I guess. From that, she still apparently owns an organic market, so maybe she's doing more with that than the burial business.

The "foundation" link on the English-language Promessa page is "down for maintenance," which doesn't exactly look encouraging, but the site is also (c)2008, which does.

And here's a story from this February:

The Express

February 25, 2009 Wednesday
Scottish Edition

Bodies could face the deep freeze as cemeteries fill up

BYLINE: By Brian Swanson


LENGTH: 444 words

THE traditional funeral could become a thing of the past under council proposals to freeze the dead to help save the environment.

If the plan gets the go-ahead, the frozen corpses would then be smashed into dust with a hammer.

East Lothian Council is considering introducing a promatorium in a bid to ease cemetery congestion and cut cremation carbon emissions.

The idea has been put forward by the council's principal amenities officer, Stewart Pryde, who said graveyard space could run out within decades and freezing was a serious future option rather than building new crematoria.

The technique has been tested on pigs in Sweden and health officials there approved it for human use.

Mr Pryde said: "They don't expect to bring you back to life in 100 years, but a new system is being developed where they basically freeze dry you, hit you with a hammer and you break into dust - so no gas emissions.

"The end process is the same in so much as there is a casket which can be buried, scattered or whatever but it does not have the need for CO2 emitting furnaces.

"It is a very, very clean way of getting the same result."

Musselburgh councillor John Caldwell said the freezing technology was one of several possibilities being considered by the authority.

He said: "We face a big problem in the near future regarding burial sites.

The freezing idea is not definite and is just one of a few ideas being tossed around at the moment.

"It is an interesting idea but you'd feel sorry for the person who has to smash them with a hammer. That wouldn't be a particularly nice job."

The city of Jonkoping in Southern Sweden is now building the world's first promatorium after seven years of legal wrangling and expects the first deep freeze funeral this year.

Under the promession technique dead bodies are slowly frozen to -18C then submerged in liquid nitrogen at -196C.

The body is then shattered into a pile of powder roughly a third of the weight of the deceased - with tooth fillings, hip joints and pacemakers all easily removed. Remains are then buried in a biodegradable coffin in a shallow grave where they will decompose in just six to 12 months.

Susanne Wiigh-Masak, 52, the Swedish biologist behind the idea said: "Many people find this very appealing. Death doesn't seem so final but part of supporting new life - like a gift back to nature."

East Lothian Council said its draft strategy on cemetery provision is almost complete and will be put out to communities for consultation.

But a Scottish Government spokesman said last night: "The technology for allowing promession funerals is new and therefore not included among the permitted ways of disposing of a body in Scotland."

Emphasis mine. Apparently, it's been coming "later this year" for quite a few years, but still, that's something.

Re: Promessa AB

Posted: Tue May 12, 2009 12:48 pm
by grant
By the way, there are plenty of other green burial options there - there's a foundation or something in Great Britain dedicated to this stuff, and a few companies in the US who build biodegradable coffins.

Just in case you hadn't run into that.

Re: Promessa AB

Posted: Tue May 12, 2009 12:57 pm
by grant
Oh, and Susanne Wiigh-Masak was in Korea doing some Promessa stuff last month.

Re: Promessa AB

Posted: Tue May 12, 2009 6:57 pm
by LoveSickJerk
Those links were ridiculously helpful--I never ran across that story from February, and I didn't even think about checking linked in to ask her.

Those additional options are great, and I appreciate you sending that along too. The nature of Promessa's technique is what we're interested in, especially the freezing and breaking of the body (which in several other articles and the book say they wanted to use ultrasound to break the body down, but they were having difficulty securing the use). The hammers are new.

Thanks so much for the assist, I really appreciate it.

Re: Promessa AB

Posted: Wed May 13, 2009 10:56 am
by grant
We aims to please.