What is Coal made of?
Coal is made from trees or plants that decayed on the ground for millions of years. The remains of various plants and trees then mixed with the other components of the ground and eventually going through several natural processes making them more like solid rocks. Over time, the plant remains dried up and solidified to the lower layers of the ground called “coal beds”.
Coal is considered a type of sedimentary rock that is black or brown in color and is combustible. It is for this reason that coal is widely used as a fossil fuel for generation of electric power in many countries across the globe. But before coal solidified into a rock form, the plant remains were said to be free from oxidation and biodegradation. These processes may be caused by muddy ground or through water that’s acidic. Over a course of many years and decades, the plant remains solidified with the mixing of the other components underground and eventually forming into a solid material which is mainly composed of carbon. But aside from carbon, there are also other elements present in coal. These elements include some sulfur, nitrogen, oxygen, and hydrogen.
Coal can be sourced from beneath the ground through mining. Most of its use is in power plants that generate electricity. Coal is more combustible than wood, which is why it is widely used in the power generation sector. At present, coal provides the largest source of electrical energy in the world.
There are actually different types of coal depending on volatile contents. One such type is called “peat”. This material is considered a precursor to coal and is used as fuel in some parts of the world. Another type is called “Lignite” which is used mostly for electric power generation purposes. “Anthracite” coal is considered the highest rank and is used for space heating. Other types are graphite, steam coal, bituminous, and sub-bituminous coal.