With automakers increasingly shifting towards environmentally-friendly vehicles, the CSA Group has set up a testing facility for prototype compressed gas systems in Langley.
The CSA Group, a global provider of testing and certification services and leading standards development organization, opened their new state-of-the-art 1,800 square foot facility officially last week (April 28).
The new lab addresses the growing market for environmentally friendly vehicles and the resulting infrastructure that will accompany the shift to alternative fuel sources such as hydrogen and compressed natural gas.
“We see this as the future of automotive technology,” said Craig Webster, a senior manager in the transportation fuels department with the CSA Group.
“They need testing services done so we are going to build testing facilities.”
“What we test specifically on these alternative fuel vehicles are the high pressure fuel systems they use,” he said, explaining that the vehicles run on either natural gas or the new hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicles which run on compressed hydrogen.
“(These vehicles) store the gases at very high pressures on board,” he said.
“We test all the components that go into them. We have to test the tanks, the valves, the regulators, the pressure relief regulators, all these little bits that go into these high pressure systems.
“We have to show they are safe for the design life of the vehicle.”
Their clients are the automotive companies.
“CSA Group is proud to encourage the adoption of new technologies that promote sustainable living, and our new laboratory in Langley will help introduce new infrastructure and sustainable products to people across North American and globally,” said Magali Depras, CSA Group’s chief operating officer.
The CSA Group has 35 offices around the world and the Langley facility is one of five labs in Canada and the second in B.C., along with Richmond. The other Canadian labs are in Edmonton, Toronto and Montreal.
And the Langley location had all of the elements the CSA Group was looking for.
“It had everything we needed,” Webster said, citing the size of the facility, the fact there was open space around it and that there were several nearby services they need, such as metal shops and machining.
And it was perfectly located with easy access to both Highway 1 and the Golden Ears Bridge.
The location to the highway was especially important as they do quite a bit of field testing — “some very destructive tests on these high pressure systems” — which are done at a Chilliwack gravel pit.