Protocol Gases: What Are They? And Why Is Their Cost above That of a Certified Gas Standard?

The United States Environmental Protection Agency calls for the use of Protocol Gases to set air pollution monitors. In the EPA’s estimation, the use of these gases “helps to ensure that air pollution measurements are accurate and can be trusted.”*

The protocol process, recognized as the brainchild of the EPA, NIST (the National Institute of Standards and Technology), and relevant entities such as the auto industry and specialty gas manufacturers, is intended to enhance the accuracy and stability of calibration gases designated for use in air monitoring equipment.

The EPA defines Protocol Gases as “compressed gases used to calibrate air pollution monitors for consistent and reliable monitoring.” As important as certified standards are, though, they’re not the only consideration here. Protocol Gases also specify that the documented gas concentration must be traceable to NIST reference standards and formulated using the process as described in EPA protocol documentation. This process requires that specialty gas producers get hold of these reference gases for the protocol mixtures they market. That’s not all. Besides the costs attendant to purchasing this reference inventory and the time necessary to verify both the accuracy and stability of the gas, the EPA also specifies that gas suppliers agree to an EPA-coordinated blind test to verify consistency and accuracy.

Spec Air Specialty Gases goes the extra mile to verify that every one of the protocol gases we supply our Auburn customers meets or exceeds the procedure specified in EPA Publication 600 (2012) and that the particular producing specialty gas laboratory is ISO 1705-compliant. Copies of the compliance documentation, including “round robin” reports, are always available on request. If you’d like additional information, contact us online or call us at .