Smokeless fuels do not produce smoke when burned. Smokeless fuels are usually solid fossil fuels, such as: anthracite, coke, and charcoal. Unlike bituminous coals they contain little impurities and so don’t produce smoke when burned. Wood is not a smokeless fuel.
Anthracite has the highest amount of carbon and lowest amount of impurities of all domestic coals. Anthracite burns slowly with a blue flame. Because of its high carbon content, anthracite can be quite expensive when compared to ‘dirtier’ bituminous coals, but is better for the environment in terms of air quality.
Coke and charcoal are produced, respectively, through heating bituminous coal and biomass (e.g. wood) in the absence of air. This drives off volatile impurities and water and produces a grey, porous rock. Therefore when burned, coke and charcoal produce no smoke. Coke and charcoal have moderate to low carbon content and are cheaper than bituminous coals.
It is becoming increasingly common for companies and brands to produce smokeless fuels that are a combination of these materials, some supplementing a carbon-based fuel with biomass such as straw and hay. Speak with your nearest participating Fuel Aware retailer/installer (click here for a list) who can help you to find the best smokeless fuel for your open fire or multi-fuel stove.