Bituminous coal

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Bituminous coal is a dense coal, usually black, sometimes dark brown, often having well-defined bands of bright and dull material. It is used primarily as fuel in steam-electric power generation, though substantial quantities also used for heat and power applications in manufacturing and to make coke.

Bituminous coal is the most abundant coal in active U.S. mining regions, since the mining of anthracite coal or "hard coal" has dropped away. Its moisture content usually is less than 20 percent. The heat content of bituminous coal ranges from 21 to 30 million Btu per ton on a moist, mineral-matter-free basis.

The heat content of bituminous coal consumed in the United States averages 24 million Btu per ton, on the as-received basis (i.e., containing both inherent moisture and mineral matter).

Bituminous coal is found primarily in the Appalachian region of the country. Mining it was very hazardous, and killed many in the early years, and the dust from the coal gave many workers Black Lung disease. OSHA regulations have made the mines significantly safer.

see Coal mining

Further reading

  • Freese, Barbara. Coal: A Human History (2003)
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