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Reducing Cold-Start Emissions by Microwave-Based Catalyst Heating: Simulation Studies

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During cold start of vehicles with gasoline combustion engines, conversion of pollutants in the exhaust gas to inert products is very low due to low catalyst temperature. Only above the light-off temperature, significant conversion can be achieved. Previous strategies to reduce cold-start emissions have been focused on developing catalysts with a low light-off temperature. Electric catalyst heating systems have also been discussed repeatedly. A disadvantage of such systems is the required volume flow through the catalyst, which is necessary for heat transfer to the catalyst. In contrast, microwave-assisted heating allows direct introduction of thermal power into the catalyst due to dielectric losses of the catalyst materials. This work analyses simulation-based the influence of the material on the heatability by microwaves. The focus is on the substrate materials rather than the catalytically active coatings, since the substrate represents the part in the TWC where most of the dielectric losses occur. For this purpose, the temperature-dependent dielectric material properties of cordierite and silicon carbide (SiC) are investigated. The determined material properties are then transferred to a simulation model that calculates heat distribution and heat insertion based on the electromagnetic field distribution. The heat propagates better throughout the monolith due to the higher thermal conductivity of SiC compared to cordierite. In summary, SiC leads to a homogeneous heating of the entire catalyst material. The fact that dielectric losses of SiC decrease with temperature may help to self-limit the catalyst temperature.

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Correspondence to R. Moos.

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Malashchuk, V., Walter, S., Engler, M. et al. Reducing Cold-Start Emissions by Microwave-Based Catalyst Heating: Simulation Studies. Top Catal 66, 1031–1036 (2023).

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