Anthracite Coal vs Bituminous Coal
Coal is a fossil fuel similar to natural gas and oil, which is in a solid rock form. Coal is formed by collecting plant debris in swamps. The process takes thousands of years. When plant materials collect on swamps, they degrade extremely slowly. Normally swamp water does not have a higher oxygen concentration; therefore, microorganism density is low there, resulting in minimum degradation by microorganisms. Plant debris accumulates in swamps because of this slow decaying. When these are buried under sand or mud, the pressure and inside temperature convert the plant debris to coal slowly. To accumulate a large number of plant debris and for decaying process, it takes a long time. Further, there should be suitable water levels and conditions to make this favorable. Thus, coal is considered as a non renewable natural resource. This is because, when coal is mined out and used, they cannot be regenerated again easily. There are different types of coal. They are ranked based on their properties and composition. Such coal types are peat, lignite, sub bituminous, bituminous and anthracite.
Anthracite is a type of coal as stated above. Among the other types, this has a higher ranking due to its remarkable properties. Anthracite has the highest carbon percentage, which is 87%; hence, impurities are less. Anthracite processes a higher amount of heat per unit mass than the other types of coal. It does not ignite easily, but when it does a blue, smokeless flame is produced for a short time. Since it doesn’t produce a smoke, it burns cleanly. Anthracite is harder than other coal types; therefore, it is known as hard coal. Other types of coals are considered as sedimentary rocks, whereas anthracite is metamorphic. Anthracite is formed when other lower ranked coal types are subjected to higher temperature over a long period of time. Anthracite is relatively rare and available in a small amount in Pennsylvania, America.
Bituminous coal is the most abundant type coal. It is soft and contains a substance called bitumen, which is similar to tar. The carbon percentage in bituminous coal is normally between 77-87%. And there is water, hydrogen, sulfur and few other impurities. This can be categorized into three as low volatile bituminous, medium volatile bituminous and high volatile bituminous, based on their volatile content. Bituminous coal is produced from sub bituminous coal when it undergoes more organic metamorphism.
What is the difference between Anthracite and Bituminous Coal?
• Anthracite has a higher quality than the bituminous coal. For example, anthracite is harder, produces more energy when burned, does not ignite easily, have a low amount of impurities and a higher carbon percentage compared to bituminous coal. Bituminous coal contains 77-87 % carbon, whereas anthracite coal contains more than 87% carbon.
• Bituminous coal can be converted to anthracite with time. This process is known as anthracitization.
• Bituminous coal is a sedimentary rock, whereas anthracite is a metamorphic rock.
• Bituminous is more abundant than anthracite.