Destructive distillation of Coal

What is the Destructive distillation of Coal? 

When coal is heated in absence of air, its destructive distillation or carbonization occurs.

Main Products obtained from Destructive Distillation:

Destructive distillation of coal produces the following products.

Coal gas:

Coal gas is also called town gas. It is a mixture of H2, CO, and CH4. Hydrogen and carbon monoxide (water gas) obtained from coal gas is converted to petroleum by Fischer-Tropsch (FT) process.

(2n+1) H2 + n CO → CnH2n+2 + n H2O       

    where n = number of carbon atoms in the alkane.

This reaction is catalyzed by transition metals like Cobalt, Iron, Ruthenium and Nickel. The mixture is heated to 150-300oC.

Ammoniacal Liquor:

Ammoniacal Liquor is an ammonia solution that is used for making fertilizers like ammonium sulphate, and ammonium superphosphate.

Coal Tar:

Coal tar is a mixture of aromatic compounds. The compounds obtained from coal tar are used in making soaps, fats, dyes, plastics, perfumes, drugs, pesticides, explosives etc.


Coke is used as domestic and industrial fuel. Coke is also used as a reducing agent in industries to obtain metals from their ores.

Recommended video:

Destructive Distillation of Coal Experiment

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