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Difference between Coal and Charcoal

Difference between Coal and Charcoal

Few people know the difference between coal and charcoal. Coal is a sedimentary rock that is composed of carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, and nitrogen. Charcoal, on the other hand, is made from wood that has been heated in a closed container until all the moisture is gone. What remains is mostly carbon. Here we will take a closer look at the differences between coal and charcoal.

What is Coal?

  • Coal is a natural mineral that formed over millions of years from the remains of dead plants and animals. Coal is a fossil fuel, which means it is made of carbon. Coal is used to generate electricity and heat, and it is also used in steel production and other industries.
  • Coal is nonrenewable, which means that once it is mined, it cannot be replaced. Coal mining can have negative impacts on the environment, including air pollution, water pollution, and damage to ecosystems.
  • One way to reduce these impacts is to use clean coal technologies, which can capture and store emissions from coal-fired power plants. another way to reduce the impacts of coal mining is to reuse or recycle coal ash, which is the waste material left over after coal is burned. Coal ash can be used in concrete or other building materials, or it can be safely disposed of in landfills.

What is Charcoal?

  • Charcoal is a manufactured product that is made from wood that has been heated in an airless chamber to char the wood. Charring wood creates charcoal by removing water and organic matter from the wood, leaving only the black carbon.
  • Charcoal can be used as a fuel, but it is most commonly used as a filtering agent. Charcoal filters are used to remove impurities from water, air, and other liquids.
  • Charcoal can also be used as an adsorbent, meaning it can remove toxins from the body by binding to them and preventing them from being absorbed into the bloodstream. Charcoal is a versatile product that has a wide range of uses, making it an essential part of many industries.

Difference between Coal and Charcoal

Both coal and charcoal are carbon-rich materials that have been used for centuries as a source of fuel.

  • Coal is a naturally occurring sedimentary rock, while charcoal is produced by the slow-burning of wood or other organic materials. Coal is mined from the earth and then transported to power plants, where it is burned to generate electricity.
  • Charcoal, on the other hand, is made by burning wood or other materials in a low-oxygen environment. This process produces a material that is more porous and has a lower density than coal.
  • Charcoal is typically used for grilling or barbecuing food. It burns hotter and cleaner than coal, making it a popular choice for outdoor cooking.

While both coal and charcoal have their uses, they are not interchangeable. Coal is a fossil fuel that provides electricity, while charcoal is a fuel that is used for cooking.


The main difference is that coal is a fossil fuel while charcoal is made from biomass. Coal is created when peat, which is an organic material made of partly decayed vegetation, is subjected to high heat and pressure for long periods of time. Charcoal, on the other hand, can be made from any type of biomass including wood, bamboo, a sugarcane residue, or nutshells. It’s also important to note that not all charcoals are equal – some have higher levels of carbon and others contain more moisture. When it comes to using these two materials for cooking or heating purposes, charcoal reigns supreme because it produces less smoke than coal and burns hotter.

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