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COAL is a combustible black or brownish-black sedimentary rock usually occurring in rock strata in layers or veins called COAL BEDS or COAL SEAMS. The harder forms, such as anthracite coal , can be regarded as metamorphic rock because of later exposure to elevated temperature and pressure . Coal
Coal
is composed primarily of carbon , along with variable quantities of other elements, chiefly hydrogen , sulfur , oxygen , and nitrogen . A fossil fuel , coal forms when dead plant matter is converted into peat , which in turn is converted into lignite , then sub-bituminous coal, after that bituminous coal , and lastly anthracite . This involves biological and geological processes that take place over time.

Throughout human history, coal has been used as an energy resource, primarily burned for the production of electricity and heat, and is also used for industrial purposes, such as refining metals. Coal
Coal
is the largest source of energy for the generation of electricity worldwide, as well as one of the largest worldwide anthropogenic sources of carbon dioxide releases. The extraction of coal, its use in energy production and its byproducts are all associated with environmental and health effects including climate change .

Coal
Coal
is extracted from the ground by coal mining . Since 1983, the world's top coal producer has been China
China
. In 2015 China
China
produced 3,747 million tonnes of coal – 48% of 7,861 million tonnes world coal production. In 2015 other large producers were United States
United States
(813 million tonnes), India
India
(678), European Union
European Union
(539) and Australia (503). In 2010 the largest exporters were Australia
Australia
with 328 million tonnes (27% of world coal export) and Indonesia
Indonesia
with 316 million tonnes (26%), while the largest importers were Japan
Japan
with 207 million tonnes (18% of world coal import), China
China
with 195 million tonnes (17%) and South Korea
South Korea
with 126 million tonnes (11%).

CONTENTS

* 1 Etymology * 2 Formation

* 3 Ranks

* 3.1 Hilt\'s law * 3.2 Content

* 4 Early uses as fuel

* 5 Uses today

* 5.1 Coal
Coal
as fuel

* 5.1.1 Switch to natural gas

* 5.2 Coking coal and use of coke * 5.3 Gasification * 5.4 Liquefaction * 5.5 Refined coal * 5.6 Industrial processes * 5.7 Production of chemicals

* 6 Coal
Coal
industry

* 6.1 Coal
Coal
as a traded commodity

* 7 Environmental and health effects

* 7.1 Health effects * 7.2 Environmental effects * 7.3 Clean coal technology

* 8 Bioremediation * 9 Economic aspects * 10 Energy density
Energy density
and carbon impact * 11 Underground fires

* 12 Market trends

* 12.1 World
World
coal reserves * 12.2 Major coal producers * 12.3 Major coal consumers * 12.4 Major coal exporters * 12.5 Major coal importers

* 13 Cultural usage * 14 See also * 15 References * 16 Further reading * 17 External links

ETYMOLOGY

The word originally took the form col in Old English
Old English
, from Proto-Germanic
Proto-Germanic
*kula(n), which in turn is hypothesized to come from the Proto-Indo-European
Proto-Indo-European
root *g(e)u-lo- "live coal". Germanic cognates include the Old Frisian kole, Middle Dutch cole, Dutch kool, Old High German
Old High German
chol, German Kohle and Old Norse
Old Norse
kol, and the Irish word gual is also a cognate via the Indo-European root. In Old Turkic languages, kül is "ash(es), cinders", öčür is "quench". The compound "charcoal" in Turkic is öčür(ülmüş) kül, literally "quenched ashes, cinders, coals" with elided anlaut ö- and inflection affixes -ülmüş.

FORMATION

Example chemical structure of coal

At various times in the geologic past, the Earth had dense forests in low-lying wetland areas. Due to natural processes such as flooding, these forests were buried underneath soil. As more and more soil deposited over them, they were compressed. The temperature also rose as they sank deeper and deeper. As the process continued the plant matter was protected from biodegradation and oxidation , usually by mud or acidic water. This trapped the carbon in immense peat bogs that were eventually covered and deeply buried by sediments. Under high pressure and high temperature, dead vegetation was slowly converted to coal. As coal contains mainly carbon, the conversion of dead vegetation into coal is called carbonization.

The wide, shallow seas of the Carboniferous
Carboniferous
Period provided ideal conditions for coal formation, although coal is known from most geological periods. The exception is the coal gap in the Permian–Triassic extinction event , where coal is rare. Coal
Coal
is known from Precambrian
Precambrian
strata, which predate land plants—this coal is presumed to have originated from residues of algae.

RANKS

Coastal exposure of the Point Aconi Seam (Nova Scotia) Coal
Coal
ranking system used in the United States
United States
(US Geological Survey)

As geological processes apply pressure to dead biotic material over time, under suitable conditions, its metamorphic grade increases successively into:

* Peat
Peat
, considered to be a precursor of coal, has industrial importance as a fuel in some regions, for example, Ireland and Finland. In its dehydrated form, peat is a highly effective absorbent for fuel and oil spills on land and water. It is also used as a conditioner for soil to make it more able to retain and slowly release water.

* Lignite
Lignite
, or brown coal, is the lowest rank of coal and used almost exclusively as fuel for electric power generation.

* Jet , a compact form of lignite, is sometimes polished and has been used as an ornamental stone since the Upper Palaeolithic .

* Sub-bituminous coal , whose properties range from those of lignite to those of bituminous coal, is used primarily as fuel for steam-electric power generation and is an important source of light aromatic hydrocarbons for the chemical synthesis industry. * Bituminous coal
Bituminous coal
is a dense sedimentary rock, usually black, but sometimes dark brown, often with well-defined bands of bright and dull material; it is used primarily as fuel in steam-electric power generation, with substantial quantities used for heat and power applications in manufacturing and to make coke . * " Steam
Steam
coal" is a grade between bituminous coal and anthracite, once widely used as a fuel for steam locomotives . In this specialized use, it is sometimes known as "sea coal" in the US. Small steam coal (dry small steam nuts or DSSN) was used as a fuel for domestic water heating . * Anthracite , the highest rank of coal, is a harder, glossy black coal used primarily for residential and commercial space heating . It may be divided further into metamorphically altered bituminous coal and "petrified oil", as from the deposits in Pennsylvania. * Graphite
Graphite
is one of the more difficult coals to ignite and is not commonly used as fuel—it is mostly used in pencils, and when powdered, as a lubricant .

The classification of coal is generally based on the content of volatiles. However, the exact classification varies between countries. According to the German classification, coal is classified as follows:

GERMAN CLASSIFICATION ENGLISH DESIGNATION VOLATILES % C CARBON % H HYDROGEN % O OXYGEN % S SULFUR % HEAT CONTENT KJ/KG

Braunkohle Lignite
Lignite
(brown coal) 45–65 60–75 6.0–5.8 34–17 0.5–3 9.8 ~1

PRODUCTION OF COAL BY COUNTRY AND YEAR (MILLION TONNES) COUNTRY 2000 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 SHARE RESERVE LIFE (YEARS)

China
China
1,384.2 1,834.9 2,122.6 2,349.5 2,528.6 2,691.6 2,802.0 2,973.0 3,235.0 3,520.0 3,945.1 3,974.3 3,873.9 3,747.0 47.7% 31

United States
United States
974.0 972.3 1,008.9 1,026.5 1,054.8 1,040.2 1,063.0 975.2 983.7 992.8 922.1 893.4 907.2 812.8 11.9% 292

India
India
334.8 375.4 407.7 428.4 449.2 478.4 515.9 556.0 573.8 588.5 605.6 608.5 648.1 677.5 7.4% 89

European Union
European Union
653.3 637.2 627.6 607.4 595.1 592.3 563.6 538.4 535.7 576.1 589.7 558.0 539.1 528.1 3.8% 112

Australia
Australia
313.9 350.4 364.3 375.4 382.2 392.7 399.2 413.2 424.0 415.5 444.9 470.8 503.2 484.5 7.2% 158

Indonesia
Indonesia
77.0 114.3 132.4 152.7 193.8 216.9 240.2 256.2 275.2 324.9 385.9 449.1 458.1 392.0 6.3% 71

Russia
Russia
262.1 276.7 281.7 298.3 309.9 313.5 328.6 301.3 321.6 333.5 358.3 355.2 357.4 373.3 4.8% 422

South Africa
South Africa
224.2 237.9 243.4 244.4 244.8 247.7 252.6 250.6 254.3 255.1 258.6 256.6 261.5 252.1 3.7% 120

Germany
Germany
201.6 204.9 207.8 202.8 197.1 201.9 192.4 183.7 182.3 188.6 196.2 190.6 185.8 184.3 1.1% 220

Poland
Poland
172.7 163.8 162.4 159.5 156.1 145.9 144.0 135.2 133.2 139.2 144.1 142.9 137.1 135.5 1.4% 40

Kazakhstan
Kazakhstan
74.9 84.9 86.9 86.6 96.2 97.8 111.1 100.9 110.9 115.9 120.5 119.6 114.0 106.5 1.2% 316

WORLD TOTAL 4,725.6 5,301.3 5,716.0 6,035.3 6,342.0 6,573.3 6,795.0 6,880.8 7,254.6 7,695.4 8,204.7 8,254.9 8,206.0 7,861.1 100% 114

MAJOR COAL CONSUMERS

Countries with annual consumption higher than 100 million tonnes are shown. For comparison, data for the European Union
European Union
is also shown. Shares are based on data expressed in tonnes oil equivalent.

CONSUMPTION OF COAL BY COUNTRY AND YEAR (MILLION TONNES) COUNTRY 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 SHARE

China
China
2,691 2,892 3,352 3,677 4,538 4,678 4,539 50.0%

United States
United States
1,017 904 951 910 889 924 918 10.3%

India
India
582 640 655 715 841 837 880 10.6%

European Union
European Union
850 779 789 825 845 809 772 6.8%

Germany
Germany
243 225 232 232 271 272 264 2.0%

Russia
Russia
227 185 232 238 256 229 242 2.3%

Japan
Japan
185 164 187 183 197 208 210 3.1%

South Africa
South Africa
195 185 187 194 204 203 201 2.2%

Poland
Poland
135 137 135 147 155 158 151 1.3%

South Korea
South Korea
114 119 133 144 141 139 144 2.2%

Australia
Australia
155 154 148 145 139 134 130 1.2%

Indonesia
Indonesia
58 62 62 68 80 90 107 2.1%

Turkey
Turkey
108 108 105 111 111 92 100 0.9%

WORLD TOTAL 7,636 7,699 8,137 8,640 8,901 9,013 8,907 100%

MAJOR COAL EXPORTERS

Countries with annual gross export higher than 10 million tonnes are shown. In terms of net export the largest exporters are still Australia
Australia
(328.1 millions tonnes), Indonesia
Indonesia
(316.2) and Russia (100.2).

EXPORTS OF COAL BY COUNTRY AND YEAR (MILLION SHORT TONS) COUNTRY 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 SHARE

Indonesia
Indonesia
107.8 131.4 142.0 192.2 221.9 228.2 261.4 316.2 331.4 421.8 29.8%

Australia
Australia
238.1 247.6 255.0 255.0 268.5 278.0 288.5 328.1 313.6 332.4 23.5%

Russia
Russia
41.0 55.7 98.6 103.4 112.2 115.4 130.9 122.1 140.1 150.7 10.7%

United States
United States
43.0 48.0 51.7 51.2 60.6 83.5 60.4 83.2 108.2 126.7 8.7%

Colombia
Colombia
50.4 56.4 59.2 68.3 74.5 74.7 75.7 76.4 89.0 92.2 6.5%

South Africa
South Africa
78.7 74.9 78.8 75.8 72.6 68.2 73.8 76.7 75.8 82.0 5.8%

Canada
Canada
27.7 28.8 31.2 31.2 33.4 36.5 31.9 36.9 37.6 38.8 2.7%

Kazakhstan
Kazakhstan
30.3 27.4 28.3 30.5 32.8 47.6 33.0 36.3 33.5 35.2 2.5%

Mongolia
Mongolia
0.5 1.7 2.3 2.5 3.4 4.4 7.7 18.3 26.1 24.3 1.7%

Vietnam
Vietnam
6.9 11.7 19.8 23.5 35.1 21.3 28.2 24.7 19.7 21.1 1.5%

China
China
103.4 95.5 93.1 85.6 75.4 68.8 25.2 22.7 27.5 15.2 1.1%

Poland
Poland
28.0 27.5 26.5 25.4 20.1 16.1 14.6 18.1 15.0 14.9 1.0%

TOTAL WORLD 713.9 764.0 936.0 1,000.6 1,073.4 1,087.3 1,090.8 1,212.8 1,286.7 1,413.9 100%

MAJOR COAL IMPORTERS

Countries with annual gross import higher than 20 million tonnes are shown. In terms of net import the largest importers are still Japan (206.0 millions tonnes), China
China
(172.4) and South Korea
South Korea
(125.8).

IMPORTS OF COAL BY COUNTRY AND YEAR (MILLION SHORT TONS) COUNTRY 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 SHARE

Japan
Japan
199.7 209.0 206.0 182.1 206.7 17.5%

China
China
42.0 56.2 44.5 151.9 195.1 16.6%

South Korea
South Korea
84.1 94.1 107.1 109.9 125.8 10.7%

India
India
52.7 29.6 70.9 76.7 101.6 8.6%

Taiwan
Taiwan
69.1 72.5 70.9 64.6 71.1 6.0%

Germany
Germany
50.6 56.2 55.7 45.9 55.1 4.7%

Turkey
Turkey
22.9 25.8 21.7 22.7 30.0 2.5%

United Kingdom
United Kingdom
56.8 48.9 49.2 42.2 29.3 2.5%

Italy
Italy
27.9 28.0 27.9 20.9 23.7 1.9%

Netherlands
Netherlands
25.7 29.3 23.5 22.1 22.8 1.9%

Russia
Russia
28.8 26.3 34.6 26.8 21.8 1.9%

France
France
24.1 22.1 24.9 18.3 20.8 1.8%

United States
United States
40.3 38.8 37.8 23.1 20.6 1.8%

TOTAL 991.8 1,056.5 1,063.2 1,039.8 1,178.1 100%

* v * t * e

Lists of countries by energy rankings

OIL

* Proven reserves * Production * Consumption * Exports * Imports * All

NATURAL GAS

* Proven reserves * Production * Consumption * Exports * Imports * Recoverable shale gas

COAL

* Proven reserves * Production * Exports * Imports

NUCLEAR POWER

* Uranium
Uranium

* Proven reserves * Production

* Generation

RENEWABLE ENERGY

* Hydroelectricity
Hydroelectricity
* Wind * Photovoltaic * Geothermal * Solar water heating

ELECTRIC ENERGY

* Consumption * Exports * Imports * Production

TOTAL ENERGY

* Consumption and production

* per capita

* Intensity * Summary of top exporters

* List of international rankings * List of top international rankings by country * Lists by country

CULTURAL USAGE

Coal
Coal
is the official state mineral of Kentucky
Kentucky
. and the official state rock of Utah
Utah
; both U.S. states have a historic link to coal mining.

Some cultures hold that children who misbehave will receive only a lump of coal from Santa Claus
Santa Claus
for Christmas in their christmas stockings instead of presents.

It is also customary and considered lucky in Scotland and the North of England
England
to give coal as a gift on New Year's Day. This occurs as part of First-Footing and represents warmth for the year to come.

SEE ALSO

* Energy
Energy
portal * Mining portal

* Abiogenic petroleum origin
Abiogenic petroleum origin
* Asphaltene * Biochar
Biochar
* Biomass-coal * Carbochemistry * Coal pollution mitigation * Coal assay * Coal blending * Coal homogenization
Coal homogenization
* Coal measures (stratigraphic unit) * Coal phase out * Coal-tar * Coalbed methane
Coalbed methane
* Fluidized bed combustion * Fossil fuel * Fossil fuel phase-out * Gytta * Major coal producing regions * Mountaintop removal mining * Petroleum
Petroleum
* The Coal Question * Tonstein * World
World
Coal
Coal
Association

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FURTHER READING

* Walter Licht, Thomas Dublin (2005). The Face of Decline: The Pennsylvania Anthracite Region in the Twentieth Century. Cornell University Press. ISBN 0-8014-8473-1 . OCLC
OCLC
60558740 . * Long, Priscilla (1991). Where the Sun Never Shines: A History of America's Bloody Coal
Coal
Industry. New York, NY: Paragon House. ISBN 1-55778-465-5 . OCLC
OCLC
25236866 . * Rottenberg, Dan (2003). In the Kingdom of Coal; An American Family and the Rock That Changed the World. Routledge. ISBN 0-415-93522-9 . OCLC
OCLC
52348860 . * Robert H. Williams; Eric D. Larson (December 2003). "A comparison of direct and indirect liquefaction technologies for making fluid fuels from coal" (PDF). Energy
Energy
for Sustainable Development. VII (4): 103–29. doi :10.1016/s0973-0826(08)60382-8 . Archived from the original (PDF) on 28 May 2006. * Outwater, Alice (1996). Water: A Natural History. New York, NY: Basic Books. ISBN 0-465-03780-1 . OCLC
OCLC
37785911 . * Smith, Duane A. (May 1993). Mining America: The Industry and the Environment, 1800–1980. Lawrence, KS: University Press of Kansas. p. 210. ISBN 0-87081-306-4 . * Freese, Barbara (2003). Coal: A Human History. Penguin Books. ISBN 0-7382-0400-5 . OCLC
OCLC
51449422 .

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