Co-financed by the European Union. Connecting Europe Facility – CEF
European Union
Driving towards low carbon mobility

STUDY ON A PILOT CNG filling station network across the Greek part of the Orient East Mediterranean Road Corridor

The provision of infrastructure and services for passengers and freight transport and the increased travel demand has played a key role in the world’s wealth and economic growth. Mobility plays a fundamental role in Europe’s economy and citizens. The European ways of living and prosperity are dependent on the ability to move goods, people, and services.

However, transport also has adverse effects on the environment, including vehicle emissions. The transport sector is currently responsible for around one-quarter of the EU’s Greenhouse (GHG) emissions and is the second biggest emitter behind the energy sector. Transport (excluding the international sea shipping and international aviation segments) is the only sector in the EU whose absolute CO2 emissions were higher in 2012 than in 1990. While the transport sector was responsible for just 17,3% of CO2 emissions in the EU in 1990 this figure has already risen to 28,5% by 2015, according to Eurostat. Within the transport sector, road traffic with a share of over 72,9% (2016) is responsible for the lion’s share of all emissions in the EU; including the sea shipping and aviation segments then road traffic still accounts for nearly 99%.

In Greece transport accounts for 27% of all GHG emissions and since 1990 has increased by an average of 63% (International Energy – IEA).

In 2010 the European Commission introduced the Europe 2020 strategy which announced plans to decarbonized transport IN Europe. This was followed in 2011 by the Commission’s 2050 Roadmap and Transport White Paper. A target has been set for the transportation sector of reducing overall emissions by 54% to 67% against 1990 emissions for 2050.

Transport in Europe is 94% dependent on oil, 84% of it being imported, with a bill up to 1 billion € per day.

In Greece oil remains the dominant origin for transportation fuels and almost 100% of it is imported.

Oil is the leading source of CO2 and other emissions in the transportation sector in Greece and Europe.

Alternative fuels are urgently needed to break the over-dependence of European transport on oil and decrease the high negative effects of oil to be the environment. On 19th September 2014, the European Parliament and the Council adopted a directive for the deployment of alternative fuels recharging and refueling infrastructures (Directive 2014/94/EU). The directive requires member states to develop national policy frameworks for the market development of alternative fuels and their refueling infrastructures. The overall objective is “to overcome any artificial barrier from one country to another, in order to create confidence for industry and customers to trigger the market”.

In 2016 the directive was integrated into the Greek national legislation (Gazette 222/30.11.2016)

Natural Gas (NG) is part of the EU strategy for the future of transport and it is promoted as one of the main alternative fuels in the directive of alternative fuels.

Natural Gas is used in traditional gasoline/internal combustion engine automobiles that have been modified, or in vehicles which were manufactured for CNG use, either alone (dedicated), with a segregated gasoline system to extend range (bi-fuel) or in conjunction with another fuel such as diesel (dual fuel).

Natural Gas offers several potential advantages compared to gasoline, diesel, and LPG. These include:

  • Lower Green House (GHG) emissions: 25% less CO2 and 75% less CO Emissions compared to gasoline. 15% less CO2 compared to diesel. 5% less CO2 compared to LPG.
  • Practically generates no particulate matters and no filters or additives are required.
  • 53% less NOx Emissions than gasoline and diesel.
  • Low emission levels of other hazardous substances – and lower associated abatement costs (e.g. olefin, aromatic, hydrocarbons, formaldehyde, etc.).
  • Natural Gas Vehicles (NGVs) significantly reduce noise emissions and make 24:00 – 07:00 urban traffic operations possible.
  • Crash-tests have already proved that NGVs are as safe as conventional vehicles.
  • Because of its physicochemical features, natural gas (NG) is safer than diesel, gasoline, and LPG.
  • Natural Gas reserves will be longer available than oil reserves, thus provide advantages to expand the security of supply.
  • The NGVs and the CNG refueling stations are based on accessible and proven European innovative technology.
  • Substantial fuel savings can be gained by moving from diesel or gasoline to natural gas. Compressed Natural Gas across Europe is typically 30%-60% cheaper than diesel or gasoline. Research by the International Energy Agency (IEA) established that the average and-user price for CNG is 44% cheaper than diesel.
  • A wide variety of NGVs (OMEs) is available, and steadily new models are being added by the European automotive industry.

A Natural Gas supply infrastructure partially exists in Greece for residential, industrial, and power plant applications

The distribution of the NG pipeline network in Greece determines geographically two different regions which are in general demanding different CNG refueling station development and investment strategies:

  • Mainland with the availability of the natural gas (NG) pipeline network: CNG refueling stations could be connected directly with an NG pipeline. The vicinity of the main motorways to the NG network is in most cases very disadvantageous, demanding high investment cost for developing CNG refueling points connected with the available high pressure or middle-pressure NG pipeline network.
  • Mainland with the unavailability of natural gas pipelines: The establishment of CNG refueling points at motorways is demanding the implementation of innovative NG supply systems.

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In the framework of the TEN-T/CEF Call 2016 (Deployment of innovation and new technology actions), a study with the deployment of a pilot network of CNG refueling stations at the Greek part of the Orient East Mediterranean Road Corridor was proposed by DEPA COMMERCIAL S.A. with the cooperation of other experienced Greek companies (ONETEAM SA, LEVER SA, and OPTILOG).

In 2017 the study was evaluated and selected to be financed by CEF (Connecting European Facility). The study will be implemented under the supervision of INEA (Innovation & Networks European Agency).

The CNG refueling station equipment will be installed at existing motorway public petrol stations. DEPA COMMERCIAL S.A. has already signed a cooperation agreement with a well-established petrol station operator and will use the existing station infrastructures and the operator’s billing system. A mixture of a state of the art mother-daughter station technology will be materialized utilizing the medium- and high-pressure natural gas network in Greece. The study will last from Sept. 2017 until Feb. 2022.

Today, DEPA COMMERCIAL S.A. in the field of Gas Movement (movement of vehicles with Compressed Natural Gas CNG) has 18 sales points of CNG with the brand Fisikon for private cars nationwide. and 2 bus and heavy duty filling stations in Ano Liossia and Anthousa

In the next five years, Greece is expected to develop a network of gas stations approaching 50. This development strategy is based on the estimate, with current data, that in Greece the number of CNG vehicles will reach 40,000 vehicles in the next five years, i.e. about 0.7% of the total vehicle market in 2024. The target is that by 2030, 2.5% of the total vehicle market will run on CNG.

The overall objective of the Action is to support the development of a sustainable and efficient transport system and to promote the decarbonization of road transport along the Orient/east-Med corridor, through the deployment of the alternative fuel CNG in Greece. To achieve this objective the Action has two specific objectives.

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The first specific objective is the initial market deployment of a CNG station network consisting of 10 fully functional refueling stations (13 refueling points) along the Greek TEN-T road Core-Network Corridor (Orient East-Med). The CNG stations network will be deployed around important nodes of the core-network to simultaneously cover the potential demand from long-distance and urban transport. It will also ensure a reasonable distance to the next station (mostly ca. 150 km).

The list of locations includes:

  1. National Road Athens – Thessaloniki – Bulgarian Borders: Shimatari (Thiva), Agia Paraskevi (Tempi), Veria
  2. National Road Patras – Athens: Patra, Psathopyrgos, and
  3. Egnatia Road: Igoumenitsa, Ioannina, Kozani, Xanthi, and Alexandroupoli.

This objective will be achieved through the implementation of the study’s activities 1, 2,3, and 4.

The second specific objective is to support, based on the implementation of the Action, the market penetration, and deployment of CNG in Greece. This objective will be achieved through the increase of demand and visibility of both the fuel (CNG) and the pilot station network, by establishing and optimizing the business client relationships and by identifying and removing barriers. The carbon footprint from all transportation operations initiated by the CNG network will be calculated and the socio-economic impact of CNG as a fuel for road transport will be evaluated (Activity 5).

To ensure the Action is delivered on time and within budget, a Project Management activity (activity 6) is part of the Action.

Activity Number

Activity Title

Indicative start date

Indicative end date


Design and Licensing of the CNG refueling station network




Acquisition of the CNG refueling equipment




Connection for the CNG refueling equipment with the Natural Gas Network




Setting up of the CNG refueling stations




Evaluation and Communication




Project Management