Protocol Gases: What Are They? And Why Are They Priced Higher than a Certified Gas Standard?

The United States Environmental Protection Agency specifies the use of Protocol Gases to calibrate 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, initiated by the EPA, NIST (the National Institute of Standards and Technology), and stakeholders including the auto industry and specialty gas producers, is designed to improve the accuracy and stability of calibration gases used for 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.” This does, however, involve more than certified standards. Protocol Gases also demand 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 supply. Besides the the costs incurred buying this reference inventory and the time one must spend to check both the accuracy and stability of the gas, the EPA also demands that gas producers submit to an EPA-coordinated blind test to validate consistency and accuracy.

Toll Company goes the extra mile to substantiate that every one of the protocol gases we produce for our Minneapolis customers meets or exceeds the procedure specified 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. To learn more, contact us online or phone us at 612-581-9889.