Torrefaction of wood is the thermo-chemical treatment characterized by subjecting the wood to a temperature of 200-300 degrees centigrade at near atmospheric pressure in the absence of oxygen.
The biomass partially decomposes, with losses of hydrogen and oxygen greater than the loss of carbon. The chemical nature of the wood is changed with the destruction of the OH-groups and the hygroscopic nature of the wood is partially lost.
This means, basically, that the wood has a very low uptake of moisture while in use (1-6% by weight) and biological degradation is drastically slowed, resulting in a natural preservation without chemical treatment.
(Torrefied wood products from Exaco Trading are FSC certified. FSC stands for the Forest Stewardship Council, a third-party, independent and international organization. “Forest Stewardship Council is a non-profit organization devoted to encouraging the responsible management of the world's forests," the organization notes on its Web site. FSC sets high standards that ensure forestry is practiced in an environmentally responsible, socially beneficial, and economically viable way.)
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