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Anthracite. Credit: Mineral Information Institute
Anthracite is a hard, brittle, dense type of coal (often called "hard coal"), that is comparatively clean to handle and difficult to break and ignite. It is used primary for residential and commercial space heating. Anthracite burns with an intense flame and with the virtual absence of smoke because it contains a high percentage of fixed carbon and a low percentage of volatile matter. The moisture content of fresh-mined anthracite generally is less than 15 percent.

The heat content of anthracite ranges from 22 to 28 million Btu per ton on a moist, mineral-matter-free basis. The heat content of anthracite coal consumed in the United States averages 25 million Btu per ton, on the as-received basis (i.e., containing both inherent moisture and mineral matter). Note: Since the 1980s, anthracite refuse or mine waste has been used for steam electric power generation. This fuel typically has a heat content of 15 million Btu per ton or less.

Anthracite forms from bituminous coal when great pressures developed in folded rock strata during the creation of mountain ranges. This occurs only in limited geographic areas, such as the Appalachian region of Pennsylvania.

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