The key difference between anthracite and coal is that anthracite has a higher quality when compared to normal coal.
Earth has enough and more natural resources with numerous usages to human beings. However, some of these resources like petroleum, coal, natural gases, and some minerals are highly precious due to their lack of presence and long regeneration time. Therefore, sustainable usage and maintenance of these resources are extremely crucial.
What is Anthracite?
Anthracite is a type of coal. Among the other types, this has a higher ranking due to its remarkable properties. It has the highest carbon percentage, which is 87%; hence, there are lesser impurities in it. Anthracite processes a higher amount of heat per unit mass than the other types of coal. Moreover, it does not ignite easily, but when it does a blue, smokeless flame produces for a short time.
Since it doesn’t produce smoke, it burns cleanly. Anthracite is harder than other coal types; therefore, we call it “hard coal”. This material is relatively rare; and found in a small amount in Pennsylvania and America.
What is Coal?
Coal is a fossil fuel similar to natural gas and oil, which is in a solid rock form. Coal forms from plant debris that collects in swamps. The process takes thousands of years. When plant materials collect on swamps, they degrade very slowly. Normally swamp water does not have a high 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 the decaying process, it takes a long time. Further, there should be suitable water levels and conditions to make this favourable. Thus, coal is considered a non-renewable natural resource. This is because, when we mine out coal and use it, it does not regenerate again easily.
There are different types of coal. We can rank them depending on their properties and composition. Such coal types are peat, lignite, sub-bituminous, bituminous and anthracite. Peat is the lowest grade coal in the ranking list. It forms from recently accumulated plant debris and with further time, this plant debris converts into coal.
Main economic usage of coal is to produce electricity. By burning coal, we can get heat and can use it to produce steam. Finally, we can produce electricity by running a steam generator. Other than generating electricity, coal is useful for generating power on many other occasions. From very earlier times, people used coal in factories, to run trains, as a household energy source, etc. Moreover, coal is important in producing coke, synthetic rubber, insecticides, paint products, solvents, medicine, etc.
What is the Difference Between Anthracite and Coal?
Anthracite is a type of coal. But there are differences between regular coal and anthracite. The key difference between anthracite and coal is that anthracite has a higher quality when compared to normal coal. Moreover, compared to other normal coal, anthracite is harder, produces more energy when burned, does not ignite easily, impurities are less, and has higher carbon percentage. Another important difference between anthracite and coal is that anthracite occurs as sedimentary rocks, whereas anthracite is metamorphic.
Summary – Anthracite vs Coal
Coal is a fossil fuel. Anthracite is a type of coal. The key difference between anthracite and coal is that anthracite has a higher quality when compared to normal coal.
1. Kopp, Otto C. “Anthracite.” Encyclopædia Britannica, Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc., 10 Dec. 2014. Available here
2. Kopp, Otto C. “Coal.” Encyclopædia Britannica, Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc., 15 Oct. 2018. Available here