Solid fuel
Solid fuel refers to various types of solid
Solid is one of the three classical states of matter . It is characterized by structural rigidity and resistance to changes of shape or volume. Unlike a liquid, a solid object does not flow to take on the shape of its container, nor does it expand to fill the entire volume available to it like a...

 material that are used as fuel
Fuel is any material that stores energy that can later be extracted to perform mechanical work in a controlled manner. Most fuels used by humans undergo combustion, a redox reaction in which a combustible substance releases energy after it ignites and reacts with the oxygen in the air...

 to produce energy
In physics, energy is an indirectly observed quantity. It is often understood as the ability a physical system has to do work on other physical systems...

 and provide heating, usually released through combustion
Combustion or burning is the sequence of exothermic chemical reactions between a fuel and an oxidant accompanied by the production of heat and conversion of chemical species. The release of heat can result in the production of light in the form of either glowing or a flame...


Solid fuels include wood
Wood is a hard, fibrous tissue found in many trees. It has been used for hundreds of thousands of years for both fuel and as a construction material. It is an organic material, a natural composite of cellulose fibers embedded in a matrix of lignin which resists compression...

 (see wood fuel
Wood fuel
Wood fuel is wood used as fuel. The burning of wood is currently the largest use of energy derived from a solid fuel biomass. Wood fuel can be used for cooking and heating, and occasionally for fueling steam engines and steam turbines that generate electricity. Wood fuel may be available as...

), charcoal
Charcoal is the dark grey residue consisting of carbon, and any remaining ash, obtained by removing water and other volatile constituents from animal and vegetation substances. Charcoal is usually produced by slow pyrolysis, the heating of wood or other substances in the absence of oxygen...

, peat
Peat is an accumulation of partially decayed vegetation matter or histosol. Peat forms in wetland bogs, moors, muskegs, pocosins, mires, and peat swamp forests. Peat is harvested as an important source of fuel in certain parts of the world...

, coal
Coal is a combustible black or brownish-black sedimentary rock usually occurring in rock strata in layers or veins called coal beds or coal seams. The harder forms, such as anthracite coal, can be regarded as metamorphic rock because of later exposure to elevated temperature and pressure...

, Hexamine fuel tablet
Hexamine fuel tablet
A hexamine fuel tablet is a form of solid fuel in tablet form. The tablets burn smokelessly, have a high energy density, do not liquify while burning and leave no ashes. Invented in Murrhardt, Germany, in 1936, the main component is hexamine .A number of alternative names are in use, including heat...

s, and pellets made from wood (see wood pellets
Wood pellets
Wood pellets are a type of wood fuel, generally made from compacted sawdust or other wastes from sawmilling and other wood products manufacture, but also sometimes from sources such as whole-tree removal or tree tops and branches leftover after logging and which otherwise help replenish soil...

), corn
Maize known in many English-speaking countries as corn or mielie/mealie, is a grain domesticated by indigenous peoples in Mesoamerica in prehistoric times. The leafy stalk produces ears which contain seeds called kernels. Though technically a grain, maize kernels are used in cooking as a vegetable...

, wheat
Wheat is a cereal grain, originally from the Levant region of the Near East, but now cultivated worldwide. In 2007 world production of wheat was 607 million tons, making it the third most-produced cereal after maize and rice...

, rye
Rye is a grass grown extensively as a grain and as a forage crop. It is a member of the wheat tribe and is closely related to barley and wheat. Rye grain is used for flour, rye bread, rye beer, some whiskeys, some vodkas, and animal fodder...

 and other grains
Cereals are grasses cultivated for the edible components of their grain , composed of the endosperm, germ, and bran...

. Solid-fuel rocket technology also uses solid fuel (see solid propellants).

Solid fuels have been used by humanity for many years to create fire
Making fire
Fire was an essential tool in early human cultural development and still important today. Many different techniques for making fire exist...

. Coal was the fuel source which enabled the industrial revolution
Industrial Revolution
The Industrial Revolution was a period from the 18th to the 19th century where major changes in agriculture, manufacturing, mining, transportation, and technology had a profound effect on the social, economic and cultural conditions of the times...

, from firing furnace
A furnace is a device used for heating. The name derives from Latin fornax, oven.In American English and Canadian English, the term furnace on its own is generally used to describe household heating systems based on a central furnace , and sometimes as a synonym for kiln, a device used in the...

s, to running steam engine
Steam engine
A steam engine is a heat engine that performs mechanical work using steam as its working fluid.Steam engines are external combustion engines, where the working fluid is separate from the combustion products. Non-combustion heat sources such as solar power, nuclear power or geothermal energy may be...

s. Wood was also extensively used to run steam locomotive
Steam locomotive
A steam locomotive is a railway locomotive that produces its power through a steam engine. These locomotives are fueled by burning some combustible material, usually coal, wood or oil, to produce steam in a boiler, which drives the steam engine...

s. Both peat and coal are still used in electricity generation
Electricity generation
Electricity generation is the process of generating electric energy from other forms of energy.The fundamental principles of electricity generation were discovered during the 1820s and early 1830s by the British scientist Michael Faraday...


The use of some solid fuels (eg. coal) is restricted or prohibited in some urban area
Urban area
An urban area is characterized by higher population density and vast human features in comparison to areas surrounding it. Urban areas may be cities, towns or conurbations, but the term is not commonly extended to rural settlements such as villages and hamlets.Urban areas are created and further...

s, due to unsafe levels of toxic emissions. The use of other solid fuels such as wood is increasing as heating technology and the availability of good quality fuel improves. In some areas, smokeless coal is often the only solid fuel used. In Ireland, peat briquette
A briquette is a block of flammable matter used as fuel to start and maintain a fire. Common types of briquettes are charcoal briquettes and biomass briquettes.-Constituents of charcoal briquettes:...

s are used as smokeless fuel. They are also used to start a coal fire.

External links

Solid Fuel Guide & Advice
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