What is Coal?

Indiana Coal Characteristics

Coal is generally characterized and priced based upon its different characteristics Some of the most common are:

  • BTUs—how hot does it burn. Indiana coal provides good heat value; 10,500-12,000 BTUs/lb.
  • Moisture Content—the amount of water reduces the fuel or burning power, and can generate excess steam. Indiana is known for low levels of moisture ranging from 6%-15%.
  • Ash— material remaining after coal is burned. These are impurities which must be collected and disposed of.. Indiana coal ash content is considered moderate to low at 7% to 13% by weight.
  • Sulphur - an impurity which may escape to the atmosphere during burning and contribute to “acid rain” and other air pollution factors. Sulphur content of Indiana coal varies widely and is generally thought of as a “high-sulfur” coal with 2% to 6% by weight.

For more information you may go to the Energy Information Administration and the Indiana Geological Survey.

There are four major coal classifications: anthracite, bituminous, subbituminous and lignite. Indiana coal is bituminous. The State is one of the top ten coal producing states in the Nation producing 32,000,000 to 35,000,000 tons each year. There are approximately 24 operating mines in Indiana. Most are surface mines.