Coal is converted to coke in the first stage of steel production. This is done by heating coal in a coke oven at approximately 1100 °C for about 20 hours. 

The volatile elements that escape during this process are recovered to serve as energy sources or chemical raw materials for further use.

Typical by-products are: ammonium sulphate, sulphur, coke gas, crude benzole and coal tar. 

Crude benzole and coal tar are valuable raw materials for chemistry. In coal chemical plants (coal tar refinery and benzole plant), various chemical processes are used to convert and extract new valuable chemicals. 

Downstream, other industries rely on these coal chemicals to produce aluminium, carbon black, resins, electrodes and more.

Coal chemicals have unique properties making them essential in many daily life applications: railways infrastructure, construction, health protection and fuel efficiency