- Even Germany’s crematoriums are being hit hard by Europe’s energy crisis as gas supplies run low.
- Many are now looking to cut back on energy use at their facilities to save on gas ahead of winter.
Europe’s energy crisis has started to hit Germany’s crematorium sector, according to Reuters.
Svend-Joerk Sobolewski, Germany’s cremation consortium chairman said the industry deserves priority as it struggles with soaring natural gas prices and faces the possibility of Russia completely cutting off fuel supplies, most crematoriums would not be able to function.
“You cannot switch off death,” he said.
Cremation is very common in Germany, with nearly three quarters of the roughly one million people who die every year undergoing the process as part of a long-lived tradition that originated in the country’s former east.
But now with limited gas supply, the sector is looking for ways to save energy ahead of winter.
Russia has cast a shade of uncertainty and anxiety over Europe after it slashed natural gas flows via the key Nord Stream 1 pipeline, citing equipment hold-ups. Some European leaders questioned the move, accusing Russia of weaponizing energy flows in retaliation for Western sanctions imposed on them after it invaded Ukraine.
Their actions have rocked the wider energy market and subsequently left European countries on edge about winter supplies. Germany is particularly feeling the pinch as it begins rationing energy across the country by shutting off spotlights on major monuments and limiting heating in different cities.
To deal with the predicament crematoriums now face is one short-term option that involves reducing the average temperature of cremation ovens from 850 to 750 degrees Celsius, which could save between 10% to 20% of gas, Reuters said.
Some crematoriums are also turning off furnaces, while keeping others running, so they don’t need more gas to be reheated when they cool down.
“In the event of a gas failure, we would be able to continue operating the plants that are hot … That means we could then continue to work with reduced power,” Karl-Heinz Koensgen, a crematorium manager told Reuters.
In the long term, the head of Germany’s undertakers’ association however said a shift from gas to electricity is on the cards, Reuters reported.
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