Whether it comes from factories or crematoriums, waste heat is a valuable energy-producing tool. And one Taiwanese crematorium wants to make sure waste heat from dead bodies doesn’t, well, get wasted.
The Taipei Mortuary Services Office recently spent $268,000 on an energy conversion system that takes exhaust from crematorium furnaces, puts it through a heat exchanger, and generates electricity to power an air conditioning unit in the waiting room. The system, scheduled to be completed later this month, won’t just save the Mortuary Services Office cash–it will also keep excess smoke from being pumped into the atmosphere.
Still, not everyone is onboard with the project. Taipei City Councillor Chuang Ruei-hsiung complained to Taiwan’s Central News Agency, “It’s creepy that the mourners are cooled by air-conditioning powered by the bodies of their relatives being burnt downstairs.” It’s an understandable concern, and while the crematorium refuses to give up on its project, it is thinking about using the waste heat to power less sensitive targets, such as the lighting system.
The Taiwanese crematorium won’t be the first facility to recycle waste heat from corpses. The Swedish town of Halmstad approved a plan earlier this year to re-use heat from cremations to warm up its crematorium buildings. Eventually, the town might even pipe the heat to local homes. And really, in the end, who’s going to complain about a reduced heating bill–even if it comes courtesy of your dead neighbor?