Protocol Gases: What Are They? And Why Are They Priced Higher than a Certified Gas Standard?

The United States Environmental Protection Agency insists on the use of Protocol Gases to calibrate air pollution monitors. This is because the EPA has determined that utilizing these gases “helps to ensure that air pollution measurements are accurate and can be trusted.”*

The protocol process was initiated by the EPA, NIST (the National Institute of Standards and Technology), and partners including the auto industry and specialty gas manufacturers to enhance the accuracy and stability of calibration gases designated for use in air monitoring equipment.

The EPA says that Protocol Gases are “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 demand that the documented gas concentration must be traceable to NIST reference standards and manufactured 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. There’s more to consider. Beyond the costs incurred buying this reference inventory and the time required to authenticate both the accuracy and stability of the gas, the EPA further demands that gas manufacturers agree to an EPA-coordinated blind test to verify consistency and accuracy.

WestAir Specialty Gases and Equipment takes every known precaution to make sure that every one of the protocol gases we produce for our Southern California customers meets or beats the procedure approved in EPA Publication 600 (2012) and that the applicable producing specialty gas laboratory is ISO 1705-compliant. Copies of the compliance documentation, including “round robin” reports, are always available on request. You can count on WestAir Specialty Gases and Equipment for the information and support you need. Simply contact us online or get hold of us at 866-WESTAIR.