What can we use coal for? Coal is called a fossil fuel because it is formed from the remains of plants that are as old as 400 million years. Heat and pressure produce chemical changes in the plant layers, making the oxygen come out, leaving rich carbon deposits behind. This then results in a solid material known as coal.

The Numbers

Coal is primarily used as a solid fuel to produce electricity and heat through combustion. As a whole, the world used 7.25 billion tonnes in 2010 and is expected to increase 48% to 9.05 billion tonnes by 2030; that’s a lot of digging and blowing up the ground, but we have to stay warm by the fire somehow!

China produced 3.47 billion tonnes in 2011 alone, there are also mines in India, the U.S and many other countries around the world. Coal mining is the process of taking coal from the ground. In the United Kingdom and South Africa, a coal mine and its structures are called a colliery. In Australia, “colliery” generally refers to an underground coal mine.

The Uses

Coal is valued for its energy content.  When coal is used for electricity, it is usually pulverized and then burned in a furnace with a boiler. The furnace heat turns the boiler water to steam, which is then used to spin turbines which turn generators and create electricity. Since the 1880s, coal has been widely used to generate electricity. Cement and Steel industries/companies use coal as a fuel for the separation of iron from iron ore and for cement production.

Coal can be used in many other ways, too. Whether it’s a BBQ or a warm house fire, there are a lot of pros for this material, which is why at Pearson Fuels we strive to be the best coal merchants out there. We even sell smokeless coal, just have a look through our website now!