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

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

The protocol process was developed by the EPA, NIST (the National Institute of Standards and Technology), and partners like 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 defines Protocol Gases as “compressed gases used to calibrate air pollution monitors for consistent and reliable monitoring.” But more than certified standards, Protocol Gases also specify that the recorded 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 obtain these reference gases for the protocol mixtures they distribute. There’s more to consider. Beyond the costs incurred buying this reference inventory and the time necessary to validate both the accuracy and stability of the gas, the EPA further insists that gas producers agree to an EPA-coordinated blind test to verify consistency and accuracy.

Greco Gas takes every known precaution to make certain that each of the protocol gases we ship to our Pittsburgh customers meets or exceeds the procedure demanded 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. For further information, contact us online or call us at (724) 226-3800.

*http://www.epa.gov/nrmrl/appcd/mmd/db-traceability-protocol.html