Uses of Coal


Coal, is also known as Black diamond. Coal is inflammable black or brownish alluvial rock with a high amount of carbon obtained. Coal can take more than a thousand years to be formed, so coal is also considered a non-renewable energy source.

In the current world of digitalization and technology-based development, coal appears as an effective source of energy for not only industries but also households. Coal is of four types lignite, subbituminous, bituminous, and anthracite. The footfall of coal is in almost everywhere that depends on the generation and usage of energy.

What is Coal?

Figure 1: Structure of coal

real name: Karol Głąb Karol007 commons: Karol007 e-mail: kamikaze007 (at), Struktura chemiczna węgla kamiennego, CC BY-SA 3.0

Coal is a rigid (solid) carbon-rich inflammatory substance that is also known as black diamond. The main chemical element of coal is carbon and also has some other chemical substances like hydrogen, sulphur, oxygen, and nitrogen. Coal is expressed as a high carbonaceous substance which is made of more than 55% by weight, made of thickness and hardening of the innovative leftover of plants as a deposit.

Composition of Coal

Cellulose, hemicellulose, and lignin are present in the plants and from these material coals are made. The main part of coal is the lignin of the plants, and has cellulose and hemicelluloses condensation is also altering from more than 4% to 39%. Sometimes also gets some wax, nitrogen- and sulphur-obtaining chemicals, and other organic elements are also being seen.

Lignin contained approximately 54% carbon, 6% hydrogen, and 30% oxygen though cellulose is contained 44% carbon, 6% hydrogen, and 49% oxygen. Bituminous coal makes up nearly 84.4% carbon, 5.4% hydrogen, 6.7% oxygen, 1.7% nitrogen, and 1.8% sulphur. It means when the coal is processing must expel the majority of the oxygen and hydrogen and the only emit of carbon is known as carbonization.

Formation of Coal

Dehydration, decarboxylation, and demethanation are the primary stage of carbonization. Dehydration is the method of emitting water elements from ripe coal by reactions. The reactions are mentioned in below.

$$\mathrm{2\:R–OH\:\rightarrow\:R–O–R + H_2O}$$

$$\mathrm{2\:R-CH_2-O-CH_2-R\:\rightarrow\:R-CH=CH-R + H_2O}$$

Decarboxylation is a chemical response that omits $\mathrm{CO_2}$ from ripe coal .The reaction is below.

$$\mathrm{RCOOH\:\rightarrow\:RH + CO_2}$$

Here is the demethanation process, where methane is eliminated.

$$\mathrm{2\:R-CH_3\:\rightarrow\:R-CH_2-R + CH_4}$$

$$\mathrm{R-CH_2-CH_2-CH_2-R\:\rightarrow\:R-CH=CH-R + CH_4}$$

Above-mentioned processes are usually considered extreme analysis processes. It expressed when the coal got heated then the volatile portion is redemption.

Coal: Properties

Coal is a non-classic alluvial fossil rock, which is black or brownish in colour. Moisture, moisture is a very important property of coal. Volatile is another vital property of coal because when coal got heated that time methane is released. After coal is burnt, it becomes ash which gradually becomes biodegradable .A permanent number of carbons is present in the coal but also has some other composites like, hydrogen, sulphur, and oxygen.

Coal: Uses

Human beings used Coal in various fields. There are mainly two types of fields are present, one is household and the other is commercial.


Until now, so many villages are present in these worlds that do not have a gas connection. Therefore, people are dependent upon coal for cooking, and to make fires. Some winter seasonal countries are used coal to increase the room temperature.


Coal is hugely used in the commercial field. Some are below mentioned.

Producing Electricity

Coal is usually utilised in thermal power production, which is help to electricity produces. The coal dust is burn at extreme temperatures, which further changes water into dampness. This dampness is utilised to move the turbine wheel at a high speed in the presence of high magnitude field to generate electricity.

Steel Industry

Coal is not utilising directly to make steel. First, here coal coke is creating which is made from boiler coal. Producers used coal coke and smelt iron ore into iron. After this, it is used to make steel. In producing of steel, ammonia gas is recuperated from coke burners and used to make nitric acid, ammonia salts, and fertilisers.

Figure 2: Uses of coal

Industrial Use

Cement industry, paper and aluminium industry are utilised the well-known industries which make some particular items. Also, include chemical and pharmacy industries.

Gasification and Liquefaction

Synthetic gases are mainly generates from coal because coal can be a proselyte into the composition of carbon monoxide and hydrogen. These gases are interim products that can be further changed into various types of products such as urea, methanol, authentic hydrogen and so on Coal is also revolves in fluid which is called synthetic fuels. Aspirins solvents, soap, dyes, and plastics and fibres along with nylon and rayon are some commercial products, which are making from coal.


Coal is a hugely utilised material, which can get from the environment. Too many uses of coal have also side effects. The main source of energy in Commercial fields is coal to manufacture any type of product. Coal is produce by the carbonization method. Mainly, three stages are present in the carbonization process. These are Dehydration, decarboxylation, and demethanation.


Q1. What types of substances can be extract from coal when it is use in industries?

Ans. Coal gives various substances such as benozle, coal tar, sulphate of ammonia, creosote, and so on. Generally, in industries coal is use as the main origin of energy.

Q2. What are the common properties of carbon-rich coals?

Ans. Generally, carbon-rich coal is black or brown in colour and it is situates in an alluvial layer in the ground. In the present days, it acts as a vital fuel that is collect from the ground as a fossil fuel.

Q3. What is Decarbonisation?

Ans. The word Decarbonisation means the deduction of carbon from any type of elements or components. The exact meaning of the word is the transformation of an economic system that sustainably decreases and recoups the outflow of $\mathrm{CO_2}$.

Updated on: 14-Apr-2023


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