The process of coalification takes around 350 million years to complete, however the mining of coal at different points of its development has led to the categorisation of at least four different types of coal known as peat, lignite, bituminous and anthracite. Here at Pearson Fuels, we want to educate our readers on the differences that separate these different types and why softer coals like peat and lignite are often unsuitable for domestic use. Read on to find out more information…

What is peat?

As the youngest form of coal, peat is often seen as the ‘forgotten’ fossil fuel because many industries do not even class it as a true form of coal. After all, it takes around 1,000 years to form and is known for its incredibly high moisture and low carbon content because it hasn’t been subjected to the intense heat and pressure that older forms of coal have.

Colour and Texture

Peat is found relatively close to the earth’s surface which means that it has a thick and muddy texture when it is harvested. In fact, peat is removed from the earth in a very different way from other coals because it can be easily obtained and this means that it is often approached from a farming point of view.


Since peat has a significantly lower carbon content and contains a lot of moisture, it is not suitable for domestic burning in its raw form. With this said, many industries will compress the bricks in order to force out water and then dry them in order to create a form that is somewhat suitable for domestic application. In addition to this, it is also used in water filtration and as a composting material.

Here at Pearson Fuels, we believe that coal is one of the most effective fossil fuels on the market as it is affordable and produces a reliable output that can be used to generate heat and energy. With this said, it is essential that suitable varieties like bituminous coal or anthracite are used domestically as soft coals like peat and lignite retain too much moisture to be safely burned for energy in their raw form. To find out more information, speak to one of the coal merchants at Pearson Fuels today!