Albert Straus, founder and CEO of Straus Family Creamery, Petaluma, Calif., collaborated with BMW Group, Germany, to make low carbon charging available for BMW’s electric vehicle (EV) customers in California.

This collaboration uses biogas to create electricity that can charge electric cars. Through the Low Carbon Fuel Standards (LCFS) Program, Straus and BMW create renewable energy with negative carbon intensity, dubbed as one of the cleanest energy sources available in California.

“With the current climate change crisis, the relationship that we’re forging with BMW is essential,” says Straus. “Not only will this help farmers in rural communities, but [also] partnerships like these are critical to help the planet.”

“This collaboration is the first of its kind in the auto industry,” says Bernhard Kuhnt, president and CEO, BMW of North America, Woodcliff Lake, N.J. “It is a perfect fit for the BMW Group, which has long-valued creative technologies and partnerships that can contribute to reducing greenhouse gas emissions.”

The LCFS program allows dairy farms that install methane biodigesters, which capture methane (a greenhouse gas) from the cows’ manure and transform it into electrical power, to earn money for generating electricity that can be used to power EVs. Also under the LCFS program, a dairy farm can earn 5-10 times more revenue for selling their renewable energy credits compared to a standard power purchase agreement with a utility buyer. This increased revenue makes it more likely that small-scale organic dairy farmers will invest in a biodigester. 

This collaboration is a step forward in lowering emissions while helping family farms be viable and climate resilient. Straus Organic Dairy Farm’s existing operating methane digester reduces methane emissions by 1,600 metric tons of CO2e annually.

“When BMW set out to make electric vehicles, we intended to make sustainability a core design element that extended beyond the vehicle itself,” says Adam Langton, energy manager at BMW. “Now, we’re making the electricity that goes into our vehicles as clean as possible while helping support the state’s farming and food system.”

“Albert Straus is creating a model where sustainable organic dairy farming is a climate-change solution,” adds Joseph Button, sustainability director, Straus Family Creamery. “Biodigesters are the technological innovation at the crux of that model. This collaboration is helping us to support organic family farms while delivering major climate-positive impacts.”