I am deeply grateful to George Alexakis for featuring my insights in his comprehensive article on Biomethane at the prestigious Energymag. It’s an honor to be part of this vital conversation about the future of green energy and the role of biomethane.

The article discusses how biomethane is key to the green transition and circular economy, complementing intermittent renewable sources like solar and wind power. As a sustainable alternative to natural gas, biomethane supports Europe’s ambitious climate targets and energy security.


Biomethane: A vehicle for green surpluses and a catalyst for cyclicality in the primary sector

In particular, as biogas and biomethane production is based on anaerobic digestion of organic materials, where in the absence of oxygen, bacteria break down organic matter, releasing gases consisting mainly of methane and carbon dioxide, it can be an opportunity for many areas of the region.

A key pillar of the green transition and of strengthening the process of adopting the principles of the circular economy in the primary sector is the development of alternative fuels, to which major players in the gas market are looking forward. These ‘players’ see a ‘green’ future in biomethane produced from organic waste, which is abundant in agricultural and livestock areas, when the transitional ‘fuel’ for carbonisation, which is natural gas, has been relegated to the background.

Against this background, given that the primary sector will have to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in line with Community targets, such processes represent opportunities for synergies and also ‘diving boards’ for modernisation. In particular, as biogas and biomethane production is based on anaerobic digestion of organic materials, where, in the absence of oxygen, bacteria break down organic matter, releasing gases consisting mainly of methane and carbon dioxide, it can be an opportunity for many areas of the region.

“Europe is at the forefront of the green revolution, leading the way in the production of biogas and biomethane, which will play a key role in the continent’s energy transition. In the battle against the urgent need for decarbonisation, biomethane offers a sustainable and flexible solution of the quality of natural gas, in line with Europe’s ambitious climate targets. This bio-based energy source encapsulates the essence of the circular economy, turning organic waste into energy for lighting buildings, powering vehicles and industries, while cementing the EU’s commitment to a sustainable, self-sufficient and secure energy future” says Spyros-Nikitas Tsamichas Co-Founder of Energon GreenSolutions, specialising in renewable energy project licensing and overall green transformation actions.

As it says, “by producing biomethane, Europe is reducing its dependence on external energy suppliers, ensuring a stable and reliable supply of green energy within its borders.

The storability and stable production rate of biomethane complements intermittent renewable energy sources such as solar and wind power, thus playing a crucial role in balancing the energy grid.”The ambitious target of the plan is for the EU to produce 35 billion cubic metres of biomethane per year by 2030, requiring an investment of €83 billion, depending on the size of the plant, location and type of sustainable feedstock.That said, it is interesting that during his presence in Athens a few days ago, Italgas CEO Paolo Gallo, for the inauguration of the new offices and the announcement of the new name of DEPA Infrastructure, which as we know was acquired by Italgas in September 2022, focused on renewable gas issues such as biomethane and, in the future, hydrogen. It should be noted that Italgas’ subsidiary Enaon Eda has taken control.

However, as it turned out, with an eye to the future, Italgas is looking at these new fuels with interest.

To this end, it is upgrading its network and installing smart meters to measure the biomethane or other renewable gases transported by it.

He said that the investments of the Greek company of the Italgas Group will reach well over 900 million euros by 2029, while he stressed that from 2025 onwards, the installation of Nimbus, the latest generation of “H2 ready” smart meters, developed internally by the Italgas Group, will also begin in Greece.


Similar moves have been made by DESFA. The Operator in September 2022 signed a Tripartite Cooperation Agreement for the development of a Pilot Project of biomethane injection in the National Gas Transmission System with Polyeco and Ergoplanning.

As DESFA said in a statement at the time, the relevant Cooperation Agreement marked the opening of this market, based on a specific action plan and a defined timetable, which provided for a final investment decision by the end of 2023.

As stated in the Cooperation Agreement, biomethane may be used instead of natural gas for the Operator’s own consumption purposes in the operation of the compression stations in Nea Mesimvria in Thessaloniki and Abelia Farsala in Thessaly, which is currently carried out using natural gas. As both plants are located close to areas with high waste availability, this move is a feasible and economically viable solution, which also significantly improves the carbon footprint of the plants. DESFA’s synergy with the two companies covers the entire biomethane value chain, from a large waste portfolio for the uninterrupted supply of the plant, to its installation, operation and management and the final extraction of the green gas for consumption.

In fact, the CEO of DESFA, Maria Rita Galli was quick to comment that “biomethane, as a renewable and locally produced fuel with a zero carbon footprint, is a promising solution both for the transition to a green energy system at an affordable cost and for the significant reduction of energy dependency”, while the President & CEO of POLYECO, Mr. Ioannis Polychronopoulos, had said that “the current energy crisis requires the development of partnerships, strategies and solutions that will create high business prospects in the transformation of energy systems.

Polyeco’s collaboration with DESFA and Ergoplanning for the implementation of a pilot project for the production of energy from renewable energy sources, specifically biomethane, is based on energy recovery from the utilization of organic non-hazardous waste and is part of the action plan for the circular economy.

Finally, Mr Spyros Tziakas, representative of Ergoplanning, had noted with emphasis that “although in Europe such plants have been established, unfortunately in Greece we do not even have the required institutional framework. The initiative, which has been launched by DESFA and some other market players, gives the opportunity to create the conditions to pave the way for the implementation of such units in our country as well. We hope that there will be a positive outcome both for the feasibility of a first biomethane plant that will cover part of DESFA’s needs, and for the implementation of other plants, which will have the necessary investment interest and will help us to have green gas production in Greece as well. This development is very important, as it is linked both to the need for energy self-sufficiency and autonomy, which has been highlighted even more strongly by the events that have been taking place recently, and to the need for substantial assistance in the proper management of the waste that is available.”

As the global community faces the escalating challenges of climate change, the debate in energy cycles is increasingly turning towards sustainability and the integration of innovative technologies. Greece, with its strategic geographic location and rich natural resources, is uniquely positioned to capitalise on this shift, pushing it towards a greener and more sustainable future.

The emphasis is on the diversification of renewable energy technologies, such as offshore wind or floating farms, which Greece aims to exploit significantly, with the aim of having a capacity of at least 2 GW by 2030. This is in line with the broader European ambition of achieving carbon neutrality by 2050 and aligned with the EU’s aggressive target of a 55% reduction in emissions within this decade. Technologies such as carbon capture, utilisation and storage (CCUS) and bioenergy with carbon capture and storage (BECCS) are vital in this effort. These technologies represent a strategic investment to reduce CO2 emissions and are essential to maintain energy security.

The adoption of the Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive (CSRD) and the proposal of the Corporate Sustainability Due Diligence Directive (CSDD) in the EU underline the commitment to corporate transparency and accountability. These directives require thorough reporting on environmental and social impacts, ensuring that companies live up to their sustainability claims. In addition, the green claims regulations set standards for documented and genuine representations of environmental efforts. This regulatory framework acts as an insurance policy against “greenwashing” by promoting authentic sustainability practices.

The country’s push towards green energy also involves exploiting Greece’s geographical advantages for geothermal energy and exploring the potential of wave energy. For example through the use of geothermal plants, Steam Mixture Flash Plant, steam is decompressed and separated into two supplies of steam and hot water. They are then used to generate electricity or for other thermal needs. Similarly, in the oscillating water column, waves enter a chamber, compressing the trapped air, which is then pushed through a turbine to generate electricity. These efforts can contribute to a diversified energy mix, reducing dependence on imported and fossil fuels.

Based on the established framework, Greece’s energy transformation strategy should also harness smart technologies to create a more efficient and resilient energy network. The integration of smart energy systems, powered by artificial intelligence and machine learning, can optimise energy distribution and consumption patterns, reducing waste and increasing efficiency. Investment in research and development of green technologies, including advanced battery storage solutions and smart grids, is essential. These technologies are vital to manage the intermittent nature of renewable energy and ensure stable energy supply.

Smart grid technologies, supported by advanced data analytics and the Internet of Things (IoT), are revolutionising the way energy is distributed and managed. These networks can effectively balance the supply of energy from renewable sources, addressing intermittency issues. Equally essential for urban living are electric vehicle (EV) charging stations, intelligent public lighting, waste management and water saving systems. These systems use sensors and real-time data to optimise resource use, reduce waste and lower operating costs.

At the same time, Greece must fortify its political and legal framework to attract investment in sustainable energy infrastructure. Clear and consistent policies can promote innovation and investment, fostering a thriving environment for both green technology start-ups and established players.

In conclusion, Greece’s path to a sustainable future lies in a multi-level approach that includes the expansion of renewable energy, the adoption of cutting-edge energy efficiency technologies, and a strong regulatory environment that promotes transparency and sustainability in corporate behaviour. This integrated strategy will not only address environmental concerns, but will also create economic opportunities, pushing Greece towards a leading role in the global transition to sustainable energy.


The importance of ESG factors in business decision-making processes is growing in the evolving field of corporate environmental responsibility. In this context, and in an effort to avoid the risk of unforeseen harm from proposed but untested high-tech solutions, “earth-tech” carbon sequestration approaches are coming into focus, where natural processes and organisms successfully fill in the gaps of our current technological capabilities.

One approach of flagship importance for saving the planet, and highly effective according to the available evidence, is increasing the global population of whales, as it emerges as an international ‘non-technological’ strategy for capturing more carbon, helping to protect the environment.

Large whales, in particular, have a significant carbon sequestration capacity, storing carbon in adipose tissue during their lifetime. When they die, they sink to the ocean floor, where each great whale sequesters an average of 33 tonnes of CO2, removing carbon from the atmosphere for centuries, while a tree can only absorb up to 48 kg of CO2 per year. The term ‘whale pump’ rightly highlights the crucial role of whales in marine nutrient recycling, particularly in the fertilisation of phytoplankton, which has a significant impact on atmospheric CO2 levels. Phytoplankton not only contributes at least 50% of the oxygen in the atmosphere, but achieves this by sequestering about 37 billion metric tons of CO2, estimated to be 40% of all CO2 produced. By comparison, it is estimated that this is equivalent to the amount of CO2 sequestered by 1.70 trillion trees – 4 Amazon forests – or 70 times the amount absorbed by all the trees in US national and state Redwood parks each year.

Researchers at the International Monetary Fund (IMF) estimate that the economic value of a whale’s carbon sequestration potential during its lifetime exceeds $1 trillion. This valuation is critical for considering legal implications and developing international mechanisms similar to the UN’s REDD program for forest conservation. Recognizing that deforestation is responsible for 17% of carbon emissions, the REDD program provides incentives for countries to conserve their forests as a means of keeping CO2 out of the atmosphere. In a similar way, we can create financial mechanisms to promote the recovery of the world’s whale populations. Incentives in the form of subsidies or other compensation could help those who incur significant costs as a result of whale conservation. For example, shipping companies could be compensated for the costs of changing shipping routes to reduce the risk of collisions.

This solution, however, raises questions that are difficult to answer. Firstly, there must be a financial facility to protect whales and other natural assets. However, exactly how many resources are we prepared to spend on the protection of whales? The IMF estimates that if whale numbers return to pre-whaling levels, when they were capturing about 1.7 billion tonnes of CO2 per year, it would be worth subsidising the whales’ CO2 capture efforts at around $13 per person per year. Even a 1% increase in phytoplankton productivity due to whale activity would sequester hundreds of millions of tons of additional CO2 per year, equivalent to the sudden appearance of 2 billion mature trees.

In any case, despite the drastic reduction in commercial whaling, whales still face significant risks to their survival, including injuries from ships, entanglement in fishing nets, plastic waste carried into the water, and noise pollution. The need for integrated approaches that include legal, economic and technological solutions to address cetacean mortality is urgent.

Incorporating whale survival into the goals of the 190 countries that signed the 2015 Paris Agreement would be a checkmate move to combat climate risk.

The drive for a more sustainable and environmentally responsible future brings the coupling of sustainability, green energy, and technology into focus. All countries are now aiming for a green energy transition, with Greece on the threshold of an energy revolution.

Sustainability, at its core, is about ensuring that the needs of the present are met without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. It is a noble pursuit that requires rethinking our approach to resource management and energy production, such as by promoting the use of electric cars and public transportation. Green energy, a key pillar of sustainability, involves harnessing natural resources such as sun, water, wind and geothermal energy to produce energy while minimising environmental impacts. This sustainable approach is not only environmentally responsible but also economically sound.

Greece, with its abundant sources of clean renewable energy, such as sunlight and offshore wind resources, is in a privileged position. So as we envision a future where sustainable energy production and resource management will take the lead, it is clear that this transformation will not be possible without the integration of advanced technology. Cutting-edge solutions such as offshore wind or floating farms, energy wave converters, smart bins and green space sensors are essential to maximise efficiency, optimise resource allocation and promote sustainable development in the country.

Through the ethical use of technology, there is an opportunity to create smart inclusive cities that will redefine urban living. The concept of smart cities is gaining ground worldwide. An important example is the city of Amsterdam, which has implemented smart traffic and parking management systems, as well as the use of Internet of Things technology to monitor air quality and provide direct information to citizens. These urban centres are designed to be efficient, environmentally friendly and technologically advanced, optimising energy use, reducing waste and improving the quality of life of their residents. Greece’s pursuit of smart cities is fully aligned with the global movement for sustainable development.

In this movement, industrial hubs are critical elements of sustainable smart cities and play a key role in achieving environmental goals. The integration of carbon capture, utilisation and storage (CCUS) and bioenergy with carbon capture and utilisation (BECCUS) technologies are instrumental in reducing, capturing and storing carbon emissions from industrial processes and energy production, as well as creating new opportunities for sustainable resource management. The utilisation of carbon can include its conversion into valuable products such as chemicals, fuels or building materials, contributing to a circular economy. The application of these technologies in Greece promises accessibility to clean air and energy. Exploiting Greece’s industrial hubs and abundant renewable resources facilitates the adoption of CCUS, BECCUS and carbon recovery practices, ultimately promoting the transition to green energy.

Recognizing the above developments, a newly established Greek sustainability consultancy, Energon Green Solutions, not only aligns itself with the new imperative environmental needs, but is emerging as a pan-European innovator in the field. The company, founded in 2021 by two brothers, students, Spyros Nikitas Tsamichas (lawyer) and Marios-Fokas Tsamichas (economist), alongside their studies, aims to redefine human living through the creation of sustainable cities and practices, was awarded first place in the 2023 Idea Competition of Maastricht University, receiving a prize money from Universiteitsfonds Limburg/Swol for the implementation of University Artificial Virtual Assistants (University Artificial Virtual Assistant / Chatbot).

The aim of digital assistants is to correctly direct and answer user questions (citizens, students, employees, staff) through automated optimisation and data processing. Faster and more efficient use of data aims at transparency, cost reduction and more effective adoption of new sustainable strategies. Leveraging innovative technologies and legal expertise, Energon Green Solutions of the Chamicha Brothers is dedicated to helping businesses, industries and government agencies seamlessly align with new green practices.

From navigating complex regulatory landscapes and regulatory compliance to implementing sustainable energy solutions, two young people dreamed through Energon Green Solutions to provide a holistic approach to consulting, promoting responsible resource management and green energy adoption. And they made it happen.