Earlier in the year, there were more than a few raised eyebrows when a town in the UK planned to heat their public swimming pool with excess heat from the local crematorium. Well, now another UK-based crematorium is thinking even bigger by proposing plans to install turbines in two of its burners. Why? Well, the heat generated during a single cremation is enough to power 1,500 televisions.

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The first-of-its-kind scheme would also see Durham Crematorium utilise a third burner in order to provide heating for the site’s chapel and its offices. It is hoped that this is just the start of some ways that the country’s crematoria can become more energy-efficient. The UK already has strict rules governing crematorium emissions as currently 16% of all mercury emitted in the UK comes from cremated tooth fillings. There are targets to halve such emissions by 2012 and completely end them by the end of the decade.

The renovation is budgeted at £2.3 million project with the first phase expected to be completed next year. This will see the installation of the “heat recovery system” which will be fitted to one burner to provide heating for the crematorium’s buildings. The following phases will see turbines installed on the burners in order to generate electricity. The crematorium is expected to produce so much that there are plans to sell excess power to the National Grid.

Speaking to The Telegraph, Alan José, the crematorium’s superintendent and registrar, said: “We calculate that we will have far more electricity than we can possibly need so we would be feeding a reasonable amount into the grid. “If there is genuine spare capacity to generate electricity then we are certainly interested in investigating that. And if it was thought to be acceptable in the eyes of the public we would almost certainly pursue that. Apart from it being common sense for us to try to conserve energy, it also enables us to keep the fees down.”

Of course, Mr José played down any fears that the dead would not be paid their due respects. “We don’t want to become known as a power station rather than a crematorium because we try to provide a reverend and decent place for people to have a cremation service,” he added.

Ironically, the crematorium has previously dismissed plans to install solar panels on the roof.

+ Durham Crematorium

via The Telegraph