California dairy farmer Albert Straus launched what is said to be the first full-scale electric truck powered by cow waste.
Straus, along with a local mechanic, spent 8 years developing a 33,000-pound International Harvester truck to use as a feed truck on the farm. The truck measures, mixes and hauls feed before dropping it into the trough for the farm’s nearly 300 organic dairy cows. Its motor is charged from electrical power generated from methane gas produced by the cows’ own waste, making it an environmentally-friendly alternative to diesel-fueled trucks. Ultimately, Straus is working toward getting the farm entirely off fossil fuels.
“What I've tried to do is create a sustainable organic farming model that is good for the earth, the soil, the animals and the people working on these farms, and helps revitalize rural communities,” says Albert Straus, founder and CEO of Straus Family Creamery, Marshall, Calif. “My electric feed truck is not only a practical tool for my organic farm, [but] it is also a symbol of the resourcefulness we need to fight climate change, which threatens our business and the future of American farming.”
This new full-scale-electric feed truck is the next step in Straus’ quest to show that his organic dairy farm can be carbon positive, using agriculture as a solution to reversing climate change. Straus’ methane digester has been powering his farm since 2004, fueling his all-electric Toyota RAV4 and Nissan Leaf, plus smaller farm vehicles and machinery. Working with the Marin Carbon Project, his 500-acre organic farm is dubbed as California’s first dairy to develop a 20-year carbon farming plan to sequester 2,000 metric tons of carbon every year.
Next, Straus plans to unveil an all-electric Farmers’ Market truck to transport organic milk, cream, yogurt, ice cream and butter to local markets in the San Francisco Bay area.