Hauling coal for commercial and industrial use provides a number of important functions worldwide, including power generation, cement manufacturing, and steel production. There are four main categories of coal, each with its own unique properties and applications. Here’s a closer look at each.
4 Main Coal Varieties
Of all the coal varieties, anthracite is the most mature, with the highest carbon content of the four types. This hard and brittle coal contains minimal volatile matter, making it ideal for home heating. It’s also commonly used as a form of smokeless fuel in both industrial and residential settings.
Also referred to as black lignite, sub-bituminous coal has a relatively low sulfur content and thus burns more cleanly than some of the other varieties. With applications in steam-electric power generation as well as in industrial settings, it’s black in color with a dull finish. This type of coal has high water content and relatively low density, making it susceptible to spontaneous combustion if not packed densely enough before hauling or use.
In between anthracite and sub-bituminous is where you’ll find bituminous coal. Most commonly used for generating electricity and cement manufacturing in industrial settings, bituminous coal is known for its high heating value. It can be divided into two categories: thermal and metallurgical. Thermal coal, also known as steaming coal, is used to generate power for public electricity grids. Metallurgical coal, on the other hand, is used to create coke, a carbon-concentrated rock, for iron and steel-making.
The youngest and lowest-grade coal, lignite is the softest of all the varieties and produces a relatively low heat content. Lignite ranges from various shades of brown to black and is typically used for power generation.
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