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 set air pollution monitors. In the EPA’s estimation, deploying 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 stakeholders like the auto industry and specialty gas suppliers to increase the accuracy and stability of calibration gases that are used in air monitoring equipment.

The definition of Protocol Gases is, in the words of the EPA, “compressed gases used to calibrate air pollution monitors for consistent and reliable monitoring.” This does, however, involve more than certified standards. Protocol Gases also necessitate that the recorded 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 sell. Besides the the costs incurred buying this reference inventory and the time that must be taken to validate both the accuracy and stability of the gas, the EPA also requires that gas producers submit to an EPA-coordinated blind test to verify consistency and accuracy.

Fresno Oxygen & Welding Supplies/Barnes Welding Supply takes extra care to ensure that every one of the protocol gases we deliver to our Fresno customers meets or beats the procedure mandated in EPA Publication 600 (2012) and that the specific producing specialty gas laboratory is ISO 1705-compliant. Copies of the compliance documentation, including “round robin” reports, are always available on request. To learn more, contact us online or phone us at 559-341-4456.