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This dairy farmer figured out how to power your BMW with cow manure

For devising a way to convert methane from cows into electric power, Albert Straus is one of Fast Company’s Most Creative People in Business for 2020

This dairy farmer figured out how to power your BMW with cow manure

Since taking over management of the family’s California dairy farm, in 1977, Albert Straus has used it as a force for change, becoming the first 100% certified organic, zero-waste, non-GMO creamery in North America, processing milk from about a dozen partner farms. Since 2004, Straus Family Creamery has been using bio “digesters” to convert methane produced from manure into biogas, which fuels an on-farm generator cranking out 350,000 kilowatt-hours of certified renewable electricity annually—enough for him to sell the excess back to the local utility. Last November, Straus entered into a first-of-its-kind agreement with carmaker BMW Group to supply cow-to-car electricity for BMW’s electric vehicles in California. The agreement helps BMW qualify for state carbon credits and pays farmers up to 10 times what they’d earn through regular power-purchase agreements with a public utility. (Any dairy farmer in the state can participate.) “Animals have an essential role in reversing climate change,” says Straus, who is pioneering a program on the farm to feed locally harvested red seaweed to cows.

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