A method for the production of a carbon material from the extraction of coal, comprising forming a mixture of coal, a solvent and a catalyst selected from the group consisting of molybdenum, tin, titanium, zirconium, hafnium, thorium, selenium, tellurium, polonium, iron, cobalt, nickel, ruthenium, rhodium, palladium, osmium, iridium, platinum, the catalytically-active compounds and coordination compounds containing any of the foregoing, and combinations and mixtures thereof.
 This invention was made with the support of the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), under Award No. DE-FC26-03NT41874. The Government has certain rights in the invention. However, any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed herein are those of the Applicants and do not necessarily reflect the view of the DOE.