What is Coal?

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Coal is a combustible sedimentary rock composed mostly of carbon and hydrocarbons. It is a natural resource that is used to produce energy, both in the form of heat and electricity, but it is a non renewable resource.

The energy in coal comes from the energy stored by decayed matter. Over time, millions of years, dead plant matter is covered by layers of water and dirt that traps this energy. The heat and pressure from the top layers, undergoing chemical and physical changes, transforms these remains into coal. Coal is a complex resource and can vary in composition even within the same deposit. Each type or ranking level of coal has different energy outputs, generally as a result of increased pressurization, heat, and time. The main coal categories are, low-rank (lignite), low-rank (sub-bituminous), medium-rank (bituminous) and high-rank (anthracite).

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