Difference between coal and charcoal

Coal and Charcoal are closely related at the same time different in their own ways. Coal is a Natural mineral whereas Charcoal is a man made mineral.


Coal is a natural mineral that is formed under the earth’s crust due to the prolonged decay of plant and animal matter due to the heat and pressure.

At various times in the geologic past, the Earth had dense forests in low-lying wetland areas. Due to natural processes such as flooding, these forests were buried under the soil. As more and more soil deposited over them, they were compressed. The temperature also rose as they sank deeper and deeper. As the process continued the plant matter was protected from biodegradation and oxidation, usually by mud or acidic water. This trapped the carbon in immense peat bogs that were eventually covered and deeply buried by sediments.

Under high pressure and high temperature, dead vegetation was slowly converted to coal. As coal contains mainly carbon, the conversion of dead vegetation into coal is called carbonization.

difference between coal and charcoal


Charcoal is generally prepared by burning wood and sometimes animal matter and extinguishing the fire just before they turn ash.

Charcoal is mostly pure carbon, called char, made by cooking wood in a low oxygen environment, a process that can take days and burns off volatile compounds such as water, methane, hydrogen, and tar. In commercial processing, the burning takes place in large concrete or steel silos with very little oxygen, and stops before it all turns to ash. The process leaves black lumps and powder, about 25% of the original weight, that packs more potential energy per ounce than raw wood.

When ignited, the carbon in charcoal combines with oxygen and forms carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, water, other gases, and significant quantities of energy. It packs more potential energy per ounce than raw wood. Char burns steady, hot, and produces less smoke and fewer dangerous vapors.
The process of making charcoal is ancient, with archaeological evidence of charcoal production going back about 30,000 years. Making charcoal is still practiced at home in third world economies.

difference between coal and charcoal

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