Difference between Charcoal and Coal


The elements of carbon are present in charcoal. Compounds made from carbon are abundant in plants, animals and other living organisms. Thus when these living organisms die these compounds are then converted into other carbonic compounds. Charcoal and coal are two such products.


Charcoal is formed when water and other volatile substance are removed from carbonic compounds. Charcoal is a solid material and has dark grey colour. Charcoal does not have carbon in its pure form because of the presence of ash. Charcoal is formed with the help of a method known as pyrolysis. In pyrolysis method organic materials are decomposed at high temperatures in the absence of oxygen. Therefore the change in the chemical compositions and the physical phase of the matter will be very quick. For example, by heating wood we can obtain charcoal. There are few different types of charcoal,

  • Lump charcoal
  • Extruded charcoal
  • Japanese charcoal
  • Briquettes

There are plenty of different uses of charcoal. The history of its usage is very old; in past charcoal was used as a fuel. Also in today time charcoal is used as an important fuel in homes and industries. Charcoal has the tendency to produce high heat energy since charcoal burns at high temperatures. To improve the quality of the soil charcoal is added in the soil. In medicine, charcoal is used to treat gastric problems. Apart from the important usages of charcoal it is very harmful and dangerous for the environment. This is a threat to the forests as the rate of deforestation is becoming higher in areas where charcoal is produced.


Just like natural gas and oil coal is a kind of fossil fuel, which is in a solid rock form. Coal is formed by collecting plant debris in swamps. The process of formation of coal takes thousands of years. When plant materials are collected on swamps, they are degraded very gradually and slowly. Normally swamp water does not have high oxygen concentration; therefore the density of microorganism is very low there, output in minimum degradation by microorganisms. Process of slow decaying of plant debris helps them to accumulate more in the swamps. Then the plant debris is buried in sand or mud the pressure and the inner temperature converts the plant debris in coal. It takes very long time to accumulate more plant debris and burying it under the sand. Apart from these conditions there must be suitable water levels and conditions to make this favourable. Thus, coal is known as a non-renewable natural resource this because when coal is mined out and used it cannot be reproduced or re used.

What is the main difference between Charcoal and Coal?


  • coal is one of the naturally resulting fossil fuels, while on the other hand charcoal is formed by slow burning of carbon woods.
  • Charcoal is not a mineral whereas coal is a mineral
  • It takes over millions of years to produce coal, while on the other hand charcoal can be produced easily.


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