The price of diesel has skyrocketed in Syria in recent years as a result of the country’s devastating decade-long war. But in Idlib province, some have turned to a cheap and eco-friendly alternative – Birin, a type of fuel made from the seeds of olives left over from the olive oil-making process.
During the production of olive oil, large amounts of pomace are left behind. The dried waste is then turned into cylindrical pellets which act as biomass fuel. So not only is the process environmentally-friendly, it’s free to produce.
“Diesel is now too expensive for people to buy, so the alternative is to use ‘birin'”, says Abu Saeed, supervisor at the factory.
The price of diesel has increased significantly in Syria in recent years as a result of the country’s devastating decade-long war.
Syria is the native homeland of the olive tree, where it has been cultivated for thousands of years as an important food source. Olive forests are extremely thick and abundant and trees grow to be quite old – some living for over 1,000 years and continuing to bear fruit into their old age.
The trees appear to have spread from Syria, Palestine and Iran to Greece and the rest of the Mediterranean basin 6,000 years ago.
In the past several hundred years the olive has spread to North and South America, Japan, New Zealand and Australia.