Difference Between Peat, Lignite, Bituminous and Anthracite

Coal is primarily made of Carbon, Hydrogen, Oxygen, Nitrogen, Sulphur and varying quantities of aluminium, zirconium and many other minerals. In terms of increasing carbon content, hardness, heat content and decreasing moisture coal is of three types viz. Lignite, Bituminous and Anthracite. Further, Peat, first step in formation of coal. Peat is not coal nut is the is wood that has undergone some transformation towards coal formation and the material contains a large amount of moisture and the carbon content is very low.

The below table differentiates the key qualities of each of the above:

Characteristic Peat Lignite Bituminous Anthracite
Colour Dark-brown Blackish Brown Black Greyish Black
Lustre No lustre No lustre Some lustre Metallic lustre
Appearance Earthy / woody appearance with dead, original plant material Less woody in appearance Striped shiny metallic appearance
Natural moisture Highest High Relatively lower Lowest
Hardness Softest Softer Soft Hardest
Upon burning Smoke Smoke Large smoke Smokeless
Carbon Content <40% <40% 40-90% >90%

Bituminous is also called has coking coal because it’s used to make coke for steel industry.