Coal is a type of fossil fuel that has undergone a process known as coalification in order to become the material we know and recognise today. This process was a slow one and took hundreds of thousands of years which means that our supply of it is very limited. Though it is easy for people to recognise a piece of coal when it is presented to them, not many are able to define it by its characteristics. In part 2 of this two part blog series, we’re going to take a look at their chemical composition and forms…

Chemical Composition

The primary chemical that is found within coals composition is carbon. Older coals like anthracite and graphite have a higher percentage of carbon whereas it is not uncommon for younger coals like lignite to have trace elements of hydrogen, nitrogen and even oxygen. The amount of carbon found in coal is due to the pressure it was put under during coalification.


The youngest form is known as peat which is a vegetative soil matter. If it was compressed for millions of years, it would become regular coal that is harder. Lignite is the second youngest, with sub-bituminous falling behind in third place. The oldest form of coal is called graphite.

Now you know some valuable knowledge when it comes to identifying the key characteristics of coal, it’s time to get in contact with the professionals here at Pearson Fuels. As the best coal merchants around, there’s no better place to shop for your house coal!