Anthracite is a hard, lustrous black coal that contains a high percentage of fixed carbon, and a low percentage of volatile substance. It is the most metamorphosed type of coal, with carbon content ranging between 92 and 98%. Anthracite is also referred to as hard coal, black coal, and stone coal.
Anthracite has the least amount of impurities, and the highest calorific content, of all types of coal. It does not ignite easily, and burns with a short blue flame without any smoke. It is also the most brittle of all coals.
Anthracite production amounts to about 1% of total global coal reserves. It is mined in China, US, Russia, North Korea, Ukraine, Vietnam, UK, and Australia.
Anthracite is most commonly used in domestic fuel, in either hand-fired stoves or automatic stoker furnaces. Anthracite coal is the most economical fuel for supplying heat and hot water today. Fine anthracite particles are used as filter media, and as a constituent in charcoal briquettes.
Anthracite is basically classified into grades based on its carbon content. The following are the classifications and their specific applications:
- Standard grade (lower carbon content) - Used as a domestic fuel, and in industrial power generation
- High grade (purer and rarer) – Used in steel-making, and other divisions of metallurgical industries
Other applications include:
- As a coke substitute in chemical industries; in building materials production; in metallurgy and metalwork; and in sugar production.
- Production of plastics, sorbents, and adsorbents