Although experts predict that our coal reserves will be available for another 150 years at the current rate of consumption, it is important to remember that the fossil fuel is a non-renewable energy source. This means that we will eventually run out of it. With this said, the process that took place in order to create the coal that we use to generate power and heat our homes is rather interesting. Read on as the Pearson Fuels team go over some important aspects of the formation of coal…


Coal is the product of dead vegetation that has been subjected to millions of years’ worth of pressure. At the very start of this process, the earth was covered by thick swamp lands; when trees and plants died they would sink to the bottom of the water where there was little to no oxygen and this created a moisture ridden material known as peat. As the earliest form of the coalification process, peat is the youngest rank that coal can be given.

Pressure and Heat

Following this, the material known as peat was subjected to millions of years’ worth of pressure and heat. This is because the earth’s surface continued to change and the natural development of things like seas, rivers, clay and sedimentary rock started pushing peat deeper and deeper into the earth. In addition to this, the sheer weight of rocks like sandstone placed a huge amount of pressure on peat that literally squeezed the moisture out of it. As a result, peat gradually developed into a material known as lignite, the next rank of coal, which is often brown in colour and ‘crumbly’ in texture.

300 Million Years Later

Since the coalification process is not one that can be rushed, the next 300 million years continued to place extensive amounts of pressure on lignite, removing as much moisture as possible and creating a material that is filled with an abundance of carbon: bituminous coal! This is the rank of coal that is used in a variety of modern ways like power plants, residential home fires and even steel production. In fact, the implementation of bituminous coal is what lead to the fast pace of the industrial revolution, as it allowed factories and warehouses to run for hours on end and steam engines to travel greater distances than ever imaginable. Interestingly, if bituminous coal is subjected to further pressure and heat, it creates a material known as anthracite, the highest rank for coal.

Here at Pearson Fuels, we consider ourselves the most qualified coal merchants on the market. After all, we have taken it upon ourselves to educate our readers and ensure that they understand the detailed and lengthy process that took place in order to give them the bituminous coal they are able to burn in a house fire. To find out whether we can help you with your fuel needs, get in contact with a member of the Pearson Fuels team today!