Coal has been a widely used and very common form of non-renewable fossil fuel. The substance has been used for several years as a form of fuel, with its primary application being the generation of electricity that powers nations all across the globe. 

Coal is combusted and used to generate electricity. It is primarily composed of carbon and hydrocarbons, which contain great amounts of energy that are released through the process of combustion or burning. Coal continues to be the primary source of energy for electricity generation all across the world. 

Coal is also the most commonly occurring fossil fuel in the United States, and statistics suggest that coal accounts for almost half of the total electricity generation in the United States. Wyoming is the top producer of coal in the Western Coal Region. It accounts for almost 40% of the total coal mined in the US.

Different Types Of Coal

Coal is vastly different from other mineral rocks, which are generally composed of inorganic materials. Coal, on the other hand, is composed of decomposable plant matter, and it goes through several changes before it becomes coal in its known form. The various types of coal are: 

  • Peat: This is not exactly coal, but it can transform into coal over time and under the right conditions. 
  • Lignite: The lowest quality of coal, its carbon content is the lowest at about 25-35%. 
  • Sub-bituminous coal: It is more than 100 million years old and has a carbon content of around 35-45%. 
  • Bituminous coal: This type of coal is approximately 100 million to 300 million years old and contains about 45-86% carbon. This is the most popular form of coal for industrial appliances and can be divided into three categories: smithing coal, cannel coal, and coking coal.
  • Anthracite: This is the highest quality of coal and has a carbon content of 97% and above. It is the most expensive form of coal. 

The Different Kinds Of Applications Of Coal

Coal is one of the most important types of fossil fuel, and as said earlier, it is primarily used for electricity generation. Along with that, coal is also used for several other purposes all across the globe. It has been used since ancient times, with evidence of it being used earliest by the Chinese, as early as 1000 BCE, and the Romans in around 400 BCE. 

Along with a form of energy resource, coal is also used to manufacture several synthetic compounds, including dyes, waxes, pharmaceuticals, oils, and pesticides. It is also used to produce coke for different metallurgical processes. The liquefaction and gasification of coal also give rise to fuels in liquid and gas forms that are transported and used. 

Another key application of coal is in making steel. Bituminous coal is used for steel making as the coal needs to be high in carbon content and must have low ash, moisture, sulfur, and phosphorous content. Amongst other uses of coal are cement production, manufacture of medicines, tars, synthetic petroleum-based fuels, as well as home and commercial applications for heating and cooking. 

Ending Note

Coal also has several environmental impacts both during mining and combustion, so there has been a lot of discussion about its usage and the fact that it is a fast-depleting natural resource. Experts are suggesting replacing coal and using other alternatives for electricity generation to reduce pollution.