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Solar Crematorium Opens in India

A solar-powered crematorium in India marks the latest application in a growing list of services solar energy has to offer the world. The crematorium uses solar thermal energy to heat a two-meter-long cremation chamber to higher than 700 degrees centigrade. It is the first of its kind in India and offers a renewable alternative to electric, gas or wood-fired cremations.

It may be one of solar power’s more macabre applications, but it provides key benefits for the environment and for residents of the villages near Goraj Ashram, a religious hermitage and location for the crematorium. It offers an important alternative to the traditional system of cremation using woodpiles, which requires upwards of 300 kilograms (~660 lbs) of wood and many trees. Newer crematoriums use electricity or gas, but these consume non-renewable energy and emit pollutants into the air.

The crematorium was built as a special chamber, designed specifically to collect and focus solar radiation. It cost roughly 7.5 million rupees, about $160,000, to build. When the sun is not available, the crematorium will run on biogas. At present, the crematorium is used only experimentally, but should be open to serve the public need within a few months. Other municipalities have already contacted the Goraj Ashram trust in interest of establishing their own solar crematoriums. In addition to environmental benefits, the use of free solar thermal energy for cremations enables the trust to offer free cremations to all area residents.

Via Solar Knowledge

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