Coal is one of the most important fossil fuels. In 2012, the global stone coal output was about 6.6 billion metric tons . A huge amount of the worldwide traded stone coal is mined in China, USA, Russia and India. Compared to the large amount of mined coal the required sample volume for the characterization of coal, varying from a few mg up to 1 gram, seems unbelievably small. The characterization of coal is important for its quality assessment and further use. Depending on the product quality, coal is suitable for coking, steel production or electrical power generation. This article takes a look at the chemical background of proximate and ultimate coal analysis and how these parameters are measured with ELTRA’s combustion and thermogravimetric analyzers.