Crematorium applies for connection to district heating scheme

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A Norwegian crematorium may have its application to connect to a local district heating network blocked because of ethical concerns.

The crematorium in Oslo tried to connect its ovens to the local district heating system so that it could use heat from burned bodies to warm houses across the city. But the local utility felt there were “ethical issues”.

Anne Margrethe Bràƒ¸ndelsbo, the head of Alfaset Crematorium, confirmed to website, The Local, that she had applied to Hafslund Varme, the local heat and power provider, to connect the facility’s ovens up to its network.à‚ 

But according to a press spokesman for the utility, the scheme had “ethical issues”, and was in any case, not practical.à‚ 

“The issue is that this crematorium is too far away from the existing district heating network, so it’s not economical to connect it,” Truls Jemtland told The Local.

He added that the company’s management had yet to seriously discuss the morality of using dead bodies in this way.à‚  “There are ethical issues which have to be addressed,” he said. à‚ The utility is also concerned that the heat profile from burning bodies would be too sporadic to be easily absorbed by its systems, Jemtland added.à‚ 
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Brondelsbo told Vart Land newspaper that the crematorium had been designed to use heat from its incinerators to keep its chapel and other buildings warm.

à‚ The coolant used to bring smoke down to 150 degrees before release heats radiator fluid in four large tanks, which is then piped around the buildings, she explained.à‚ 

In a previously similar situation, an ethics council in Denmark convened by the country’s parliament discussed whether it could “be considered a disrespectful or indecent treatment of corpses to recover the heat from the combustion process in crematoria”.à‚ 

The risk, they argued was that “the bodies would then be considered objects or fuel”, which would be “disrespectful of the deceased”.à‚ 

In the end, they ruled that it was in fact ethical, and several crematoria in Denmark now pump their excess heat to surrounding areas.à‚ 

Ringsted Crematorium, south of Copenhagen, for instance, supplies enough heat to warm 600 households.

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