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Coal, Oil and Biomass are the raw materials of the Chemistry of Carbon, universally named as Organic Chemistry.
ORGANIC CHEMISTRY had a rapid expansion during the 20th century initially with coal, then with oil, as the understanding of the mechanism of its reactions improved rather than the huge quantities of the new compounds that were synthesized. 
This can be explained if we consider that basic saturated and unsaturated hydrocarbon molecules are easily produced from fossil carbon, in particular from oil …
The method to prepare the various products of Organic Chemistry uses the controlled or catalytic oxidisation of these simple hydrocarbons to produce carbonyl molecules, which are the more important class of organic compounds. It is sufficient to reduce these carbonyl molecules and proceed further to a hetero-atom exchange between oxygen, nitrogen, sulphur etc … This prepares the main part of Organic Chemistry.
This considerable work is carried out daily in nature by photosynthesis and related biochemical reactions to lead to more complex molecules and macromolecules, which cannot be separated by a simple distillation as with crude oil in an oil refinery.
There is a great difference. The Chemist who uses Biomass and wants to produce commodities for the same purposes as those coming from oil has to deal with much more complex raw materials. Moreover the chemical method used has to be, today, both economic and ecologic. 
Biomass Chemistry is confronted today with this considerable challenge and, as we will be seeing in the future, it has many advantages to be able to win. 
The annual natural renewal of biomass contrasts with oil extraction and has no contribution to the   “greenhouse“   effect. The use of Biomass as a raw material for the Chemical Industry must be considered as a sustainable development. This is now the belief of many people around the world.
Coal Chemistry has been outstanding during the 19th century, Oil Chemistry has been outstanding during the 20th century, and now Biomass Chemistry will be outstanding in the 21st century.