How important is coal to us all? Being in the industry, I have always come in contact with people outside the industry that have no clue about any other useful things that coal is used for other than electricity.  So, let’s test your knowledge on coal.

Before reading this blog, ask yourself what purpose does coal play in everyday life? Since the ancient times, the only use of coal that most of us have understood about is to use it to burn fire and produce heat. That is why we have not been able to discover the molecular complexity of coal that is entirely different from how we have been using it.

Recently, scientists have conducted a complete research on coal, and they have concluded that coal can become the basis of batteries, solar panels, and many other electronic devices because of its unusual properties. You might consider coal to be a low-tech material, but there is a broad range of potential high-tech uses of coal that scientists are trying to work on. Mainly there are four different types of coal; Lignite, Anthracite and two types of Bituminous coal. All of these coals have different properties that can help the scientists use them in different ways. However, after complete research, there were some unique properties of coal that impressed most of the scientists. Here are some of the properties that you should know about;

  • Coal is one of the strongest materials in nature. It is 200 times stronger as compared to steel by weight.
  • Coal can be mixed and reacted with other materials like cement and plastic to increase their strength. Despite being strong, it is highly flexible. When properly treated coal is the thinnest material that you will find in the world. You can stack several sheets within a single inch that this material of coal is called graphene.
  • Compared to copper, coal is better electricity and heat conductor.
  • Coal is used in the production of silicon and other semiconductors.
  • The solar power industry is being revolutionized with the help of coal.
  • Coal can enhance the overall performance of the lithium-ion battery.

Scientists have understood all these important properties of coal, and this is the reason that they have explored many incredible uses of coal that you will be surprised to know about. Here are some of the common uses of coal that you should know about.


In a recent report, it has been shown that in the US, industries have been using coal to produce electricity 40% of the time. However, there are many companies that are using coal to run their turbines by adding the coal to the machine it heats up to boil the water. When the water reaches a specified temperature, it will produce heat and that heat will cause the turbines to run. This generates electricity. Using coal for the production of electricity is one of the most reliable and cheapest options we have.

Steel production

Coal that has recently become very popular is its utilization in the production of steel. 70% of the steel in the world is produced with the utilization of coke, that is a residue of coal. The reason that coke is used in the production of steel is that of the following properties that it has;

  • Low sulfur
  • Low ash
  • High carbon

Strong material

One of the most critical coals used in this process is the coking coal. It is commonly known as metallurgical coal. For the production of steel, coal is burned at a very high temperature of around 1000 degrees Celsius. Coal is burned in the absence of oxygen because that is the only way to remove all the impurities from the coal. Only pure coal can be used for the production of steel.

The steel produced by coal is used universally in telecommunication, structures, transportations, and many other applications. So we can say that we are mainly using coal in all these structures and that might be hard for many individuals to believe.


Cement is the essential element used in construction, whether it is a building or that new sidewalk that you are planning to work on. Mainly cement is mixed with gravel and water to form concrete that is also commonly used in many construction projects. However, you should know that without the addition of coal these elements will have no strength that is required to make the structure strong.

The main components used in the production of cement are silica, calcium carbonate, alumina, and iron oxide. These are places in the kiln set at a very high temperature with the help of coal. All these raw materials are properly heated so that they can be converted into clinker. After that, the clinker will be mixed with gypsum then that is grounded to a fine powder to give the final product that we know as cement. A lot of energy is required for the production of cement, and this is the reason coal is selected as the main energy source or fuel.

It means that coal is essential for the management of many important functions of our daily life including industries, businesses, and households.

Coal chemistry

Recently, a new method that has been introduced in the industry is the coal gasification process. It is commonly being used in industrial processes. Most of the industries are using the coal gasification combined cycle. They are power plants that help in the generation of energy. In the presence of steam and oxygen, coal is gasified to produce a synthetic gas. It is a mixture of hydrogen and carbon monoxide. This gas is an intermediate product that you can convert into several other items like

  • Pure hydrogen
  • Urea
  • Methanol
  • Dimethyl ether

All these items are them used for the production of synthetic fuels. In the same way, using chemical processes coal can be converted into wax that has several different types of preservations we know as hydrocarbons. Such items contain a variable number of carbon atoms. The wax produced by this process has to undergo several conversions that will help in the production of best quality gasoline, diesel, and a minor amount of LPG.

Ferrell Silicon and alloys

There are many individuals that do not know that coal can be used as an alloy. There is a special type of coal that is used as Ferrell Silicon that is commonly known as the ferroalloy or alloy of silica. The element consists of iron as well as 15% to 90% of silicon. The most significant attraction of Ferrell Silicon is that it is the heat blocker. It is commonly used in the production of carbon and stainless steel.

To accelerate the process of graphitization, Ferrell Silicon is used in the production of cast iron. Ferrell Silicon is commonly added to the alloys to enhance their physical properties. The new compound that is formed by the addition of Ferrell Silicon has high heat temperature and corrosion resistance. Apart from that, there are many other properties of Ferrell Silicon that includes high specific gravity, abrasion, and high magnetism.

There are different types of materials that are required for the production of Ferrell Silicon that includes quartz, charcoal and mill scale. The quartzite is reduced with MET coal, charcoal or coke for the production of Ferrell Silicon. There are various applications of Ferrell Silicon that include the production of cast iron, silicon, and pure semiconductors that are used in electric industry as well as silicon copper.

Blue gem coal

The blue gem coal is commonly used in the production of silicon. Silicon is an essential material in the present age. All the technological and electronic devices that we have been using are because of silicon. It is used in the production of microchips that are used to transfer the energy to the devices so that we can use them correctly.

The smartphones we cannot spend even a second without are all because of the silicon produced with the blue gem coal. Most of the people know that silicon is manufactured with the help of sand. However, it has been recently found that sand is not the best raw material for the production of silicon and that is why the chips now present in our devices are made with blue gem coal.

Solar industry

Beleive it or not coal is now being used in the production of the solar panels. The heat consumption and blocking properties of the coal can be beneficial to assure that all the light that is coming from the sun is stored in the panels and it is passed to the generators. After that when the sun is down the same energy is used in the production of electricity.


Most of you might already know, and others will be surprised to read that coal can be used in jewelry. You should know that when coal is kept under the rocks of the earth’s surface for millions of years, it forms one of the most expensive stones in the world that we know and that is a diamond. All the different types of diamonds that are available in the market are produced because of coal. Even if you are planning to buy a colorful diamond remember that is produced because coal reacted with some other elements that led to the formation of colored diamond.

Carbon fiber

One of the best things that coal has given us is the carbon fiber. It is the product that is manufactured with the processing of coal. The best thing about carbon fiber is that it is sturdy and flexible at the same time. The reason for its popularity is that it is highly stable and strong. It can easily absorb the impact of a fall due to which it provides extra protection for all of our electronic devices.

At the same time, you will get other benefits like the flexibility of the carbon fiber. There are many different companies that are working hard to produce the tiers manufactured with carbon fiber, and for those produced have been a success in the market. There are chances that soon major infrastructures will be built using the carbon fiber because of its strength. It means that we will be using coal in many more surprisingly different ways.

Activated charcoal

We have been using the activated charcoal that is also produced with the help of coal. Here are some of the uses that you probably use every day;

1-Beauty products

There are many beauty products that are produced with the help of activated charcoal. The reason is that activated charcoal has many unique absorption qualities. This is the reason that when applied to the face it can remove all the germs and impurities in the skin that will help in protection against pimples and other skin problems. There are also many individuals that are using activated charcoal on their teeth. It has been found that continuous application of activated charcoal on the teeth, can help to get them whiter naturally. The most significant attraction of the activated charcoal is that it has no side effects.


Apart from the beauty products, there are many cleansing products in which activated charcoal is being used. There are many companies that are working on cleaning products that have a small amount of activated charcoal in them. The reason they were working on this project is that activated charcoal has special antibacterial properties. It means that when you clean the surface using such products, it will help you to get rid of all the bacteria and other germ causing agents that might be dangerous for you or your family members.


One of the biggest benefits of activated charcoal is the utilization of filtration of water. There are many small minute pores in the activated charcoal that can help to purify water. It will remove all the impurities from water even the chemical agents and bacteria that might cause diseases. In several major water filtration plants, the main element that is used for the purification of water is activated charcoal. In case that you are ever without clean water for drinking, you will only need to pass it through activated charcoal, and the water will be drinkable. It is a reliable and affordable way of water purification.


You will be surprised to know that in ancient times activated charcoal and coal were used as a medicine and remedy. In case that a person is bitten by a venomous animal, the people used to apply activated charcoal or coal on the wound because of its absorption qualities. Recently, there are many medicines that are produced with activated charcoal. The medicine made with activated charcoal can help remove toxins from the body, and there are many individuals that are using it for detoxification.

Bottom line

There is no doubt that coal is a crucial part of our energy grid, but what amazes me is that so many people have no clue how useful coal is to everyday life.  To learn more about coal go to  to learn more.