Protocol Gases: What Are They? And Why Do They Exceed the Cost of a Certified Gas Standard?

The United States Environmental Protection Agency demands the use of Protocol Gases to calibrate 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, recognized as the brainchild of the EPA, NIST (the National Institute of Standards and Technology), and stakeholders including the auto industry and specialty gas suppliers, is intended to enhance the accuracy and stability of calibration gases that are used 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 documented gas concentration must be traceable to NIST reference standards and prepared 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 distribute. Added to the the costs attendant to buying this reference inventory and the time necessary to validate both the accuracy and stability of the gas, the EPA also insists that gas producers undergo an EPA-coordinated blind test to certify consistency and accuracy.

Arc3 Gases takes every known precaution to confirm that every one of the protocol gases we produce for our Richmond, Virginia 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. For details, contact us online or get hold of us at (804) 644-4521.

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