Albert Straus and feed truck
Albert Straus and his methane-powered feed truck. Photos: Courtesy of Straus Family Creamery.

On one organic dairy farm, the feed truck runs on cow power.

Straus: “I was able to put together a fully electric truck to feed the cows that’s powered by the cows’ waste. We claim that’s the first one in the world to do that.”

That’s Albert Straus, CEO of Straus Family Creamery in Marin County, California.

When cow manure breaks down, it releases methane, a potent global warming gas. But that methane can be captured and used to make electricity.

Using technology called a methane digester, Strauss has been converting his cow’s manure into energy for the last 14 years. The process produces enough electricity to power the whole farm. And now, that energy is also being used to charge his electric truck.

Methane digesters are expensive, but using manure in this way comes with many benefits. It helps keep odors and flies to a minimum. It reduces methane emissions and the farm’s reliance on fossil fuels. Now, with the electric feed truck, Straus is cutting down on diesel emissions, too.

Straus: “It’s somewhere around 200 to 250 gallons of diesel a month that we’re not using.”

So from producing milk to producing electricity, the cows on Straus’s farm are earning their keep.

Reporting credit: ChavoBart Digital Media.

Sarah Kennedy is an editor and content producer with ChavoBart Digital Media, a production firm with a focus on scientific and environmental media. Her work on Climate Connections includes developing story...