Subbituminous coal is coal whose properties range from those of lignite to those of bituminous coal and used primarily as fuel for steam-electric power generation. It may be dull, dark brown to black, soft and crumbly, at the lower end of the range, to bright, jet black, hard, and relatively strong, at the upper end.
Subbituminous coal contains 20 to 30 percent inherent moisture by weight. The heat content of subbituminous coal ranges from 17 to 24 million Btu per ton on a moist, mineral-matter-free basis. The heat content of subbituminous coal consumed in the United States averages 17 to 18 million Btu per ton, on the as-received basis (i.e., containing both inherent moisture and mineral matter).