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

The United States Environmental Protection Agency requires 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, created by the EPA, NIST (the National Institute of Standards and Technology), and partners 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 definition the EPA applies to Protocol Gases says they’re “compressed gases used to calibrate air pollution monitors for consistent and reliable monitoring.” That said, it isn’t simply a matter of certified standards. Protocol Gases also specify 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 acquire 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 required to validate both the accuracy and stability of the gas, the EPA also requires that gas producers agree to an EPA-coordinated blind test to validate consistency and accuracy.

Wright Brothers goes the extra mile to make sure that all of the protocol gases we supply our Cincinnati customers meets or beats the procedure approved 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. For further information, contact us online or call us at 800-637-2222.