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:

ColourDark-brownBlackish BrownBlackGreyish Black
LustreNo lustreNo lustreSome lustreMetallic lustre
AppearanceEarthy / woody appearance with dead, original plant materialLess woody in appearanceStripedshiny metallic appearance
Natural moistureHighestHighRelatively lowerLowest
Upon burningSmokeSmokeLarge smokeSmokeless
Carbon Content<40%<40%40-90%>90%

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