We are researching the use of heavy fuel oil (HFO) on ship vessels, but are having trouble finding the equation of the chemical combustion process of HFO. I understand that it contains long chains of hydrocarbons, however it would be helpful if someone could help us towards finding it.

$$\ce{CH4 + 2O2 + N2 + H2S -> 2H2O + CO2 + NO + NO2 + SO2}$$

So far we have found that the base equation, including pollutants in HFO, comes down to to the above according to www.petroleum.co.uk.

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    $\begingroup$ "The chemical composition of HFO is highly variable due to the fact that HFO is often mixed or blended with cleaner fuels, blending streams can include carbon numbers from C20 to greater than C50." There cannot be a single equation and it is highly dependent on the batch you are using. The general case you have for methane would work for many of the hydrocarbons $\ce{C_nH_{2n+2}}$ (and others) just fine, but that's just the resulting stoichiometry. The process might be more complex. Have you done any literature research? $\endgroup$ – Martin - マーチン Nov 25 '19 at 14:11
  • $\begingroup$ There is nothing to be found. Heavy oil doesn't even have a single formula, much less a single equation of any reaction. $\endgroup$ – Ivan Neretin Nov 25 '19 at 14:38
  • $\begingroup$ @IvanNeretinso so you suggest HFO doesn't combust at all? I understand that it is not a single formula, but i'm interested in the base equation which can be applied to longer chains of hydrocarbons. And if it really doesn't have any equation, point me towards a source since without a source it does not help me further. $\endgroup$ – Thomas Wagenaar Nov 25 '19 at 14:51
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    $\begingroup$ Why, it surely does combust regardless of our inability to write an equation for that. (Likewise, planets used to rotate around the Sun long before Newton wrote his equations.) So what? Well, I guess you may write something along the lines of $$\ce{C_xH_y + \left(x + {y\over4}\right)O2 -> xCO2 + {y\over2}H2O}$$ but this is hardly very useful. $\endgroup$ – Ivan Neretin Nov 25 '19 at 15:23
  • $\begingroup$ Also ring type hydrocarbons and likely compounds up to 4 + % if you mean "bunker C" . If you mean fuel for a Diesel type engine and not a boiler --- still could have many compounds. $\endgroup$ – blacksmith37 Nov 25 '19 at 20:19

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