Protocol Gases: What Are They? And Why Do They Cost More than a Certified Gas Standard?

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

The protocol process, attributed to the EPA, NIST (the National Institute of Standards and Technology), and partners including the auto industry and specialty gas suppliers, is designed to improve the accuracy and stability of calibration gases designated for use in air monitoring equipment.

The definition the EPA applies to Protocol Gases says they’re “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 require that the reported gas concentration must be traceable to NIST reference standards and produced 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 distribute. Added to the the costs attendant to purchasing this reference inventory and the time one must spend to ensure both the accuracy and stability of the gas, the EPA also insists that gas producers undergo an EPA-coordinated blind test to verify consistency and accuracy.

Weldstar Specialty Gases goes the extra mile to verify that all of the protocol gases we supply our Northern Illinois customers meets or surpasses 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 Weldstar Specialty Gases for the information and support you need. Simply contact us online or get hold of us at 708-627-1007.