University of Waterloo Uses a Heated Catalytic Converter in their PHEV Design

Throughout the design of the University of Waterloo Alternative Fuel Team’s 2013 Chevrolet Malibu, UWAFT has been on a quest to improve its emissions. As the catalytic converter is one of the most important parts of the car when it comes to controlling emissions, UWAFT has decided to focus its efforts on improving the stock converter.

UWAFT's Heated Catalytic Converter

UWAFT’s Heated Catalytic Converter

While most catalytic converters are gradually heated by the exhaust from the engine, it takes time to reach the temperature at which the catalytic converter can properly purify the exhaust gas. This is an especially larger problem when performing a cold start in below freezing temperatures, as it can take minutes to finally heat up to an operational temperature. Seeing as below freezing temperatures are commonplace in Canada, UWAFT decided that a method to heat up the catalytic converter was needed.

With a heated catalytic converter, UWAFT can reduce the time it takes to achieve an operational catalytic converter from minutes to mere seconds. Combined with the hybrid architecture of UWAFT’s Malibu, it can be heated before the engine starts, which eliminates the inoperational time completely. Obviously, having a heated catalytic converter will benefit UWAFT and its drive for as little emissions as possible.