Thousands of products are made with coal or coal by-products, including aspirins, soap, dyes, solvents, plastics, and fibers such as rayon or nylon. Coal is an important ingredient in production of products that require activated carbon, carbon fiber or silicon metal. Activated carbon is an essential ingredient in the production of air purification and water filters as well as kidney dialysis machines.
Carbon fiber is used as a reinforcement material in mountain bikes, building construction and tennis rackets. Different types of coal are used in different ways. Steam coal is primarily used in power generation, while coking coal is used mainly in steel production. The five largest users of coal are China, India, the United States, Japan and Russia. These coal users make up 76 percent of worldwide coal usage, although Asia accounts for 67 percent of worldwide coal usage. Many Asian countries do not have enough natural energy resources to cover energy needs and must import coal to meet those requirements. Approximately 6.6 billion tons of hard coal and 1 billion tons of brown coal were used globally in 2013. Seventy percent of the steel produced in 2014 used coal in its production. Global crude steel production in 2010 was 1.4 billion tons.