Researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Argonne National Laboratory have developed a new software modeling tool for analyzing the economic impacts of building new compressed natural gas (CNG) fueling stations. The tool, called JOBS NG, is available as a Website download.
Natural gas production has boomed in the U.S., raising interest in its use as a vehicle fuel. But there are currently far fewer natural gas stations than gasoline stations in the country, concentrated in a few areas. (See them all on the DOE’s map of every public natural gas station in the U.S.)
JOBS NG is designed to help states and local governments evaluate possible economic benefits related to natural gas stations when they are setting new policies. It can also help developers quantify proposals.
“Our model estimates the jobs created and economic output at every stage in the process, beginning with station design and construction and continuing through the operation and maintenance of the station and the sale of natural gas fuel,” said Marianne Mintz, an Argonne systems analyst who built the tool.
The analysis, customizable by state or census region, even extends to the equipment for the station — accounting for the raw materials that go into components as they are mined, refined, distributed, and assembled.
“The model also accounts for ripple effects as new jobholders purchase goods and services elsewhere in the economy,” Mintz said.
JOBS NG is the third in a series of tools designed to estimate economic impacts of energy investments, all based on standard equations used by the Department of Labor to estimate the effects of investment dollars in a region. Earlier tools calculated similar impacts for developing hydrogen fueling stations and for deploying fuel cells in forklifts and for backup power. All three tools are available online, along with information and guides for using the models.