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Coal is a fossil fuel that is extracted from the ground by coal mining.

There are many types of coal:

  • Peat, considered to be a precursor of coal. It is used in fires and a starter in some countries. It is made from matted and smashed plants.
  • Lignite, also known as brown coal is also used in fires.
  • Sub-bituminous coal is usually used as fuel.
  • Bituminous coal is a dense variety and is used to make coke.
  • Anthracite is used in commercial heating.
  • Graphite is mainly used in pencil lead.

Coal is mainly used as a solid fuel to produce electricity and energy through combustion. World coal consumption is about 5 billion tons annually, of which about 3/4 is used for the production of electricity. Coal is usually pulverized, then burned in a furnace with a boiler when coal is used for electricity. Around 40%, more or less, of the world's electricity production utilizes coal.