Using Methane Power on a Dairy Farm

Straus Family Creamery uses a methane digester to convert its herd’s manure into renewable energy for the farm.

| October/November 2018

  • cows
    The waste from dairy cattle can be used to generate all the electricity the operation needs.
    Photo by Adobe Stock/ahavelaar

  • cows

Cows may be a critical component of all dairy operations, but for one California farm, they’re also the primary energy supplier. Straus Family Creamery in Marin County, California, transforms cow manure into electricity, turning one of its waste products into renewable energy. At standard dairy operations, cow manure releases methane, a greenhouse gas that’s 30 times more potent than carbon dioxide as it breaks down. Rather than releasing this gas into the atmosphere, dairy owner Albert Straus works to capture it and transform it into a versatile power source. This isn’t a new development for the dairy. With the help of a methane digester, Straus has been generating electricity from manure for over 14 years, and he produces enough to power his entire farm.

Methane digesters such as the one Straus uses aren’t cheap, but they have many benefits for farmers. For starters, they minimize the flies and odors that come from exposed manure, and they reduce fuel needs. Straus estimates that his setup saves 200 to 250 gallons of diesel fuel each month. Recently, he expanded the system to charge his electric truck as well. This means that the energy used to bring feed to the dairy comes from the cows themselves, by way of their manure. With the electric truck, the dairy operates on a closed-loop system where every cow on the property improves its sustainability. Through his example, Straus hopes to prove to the world that dairy farming can be carbon-positive and a viable solution for fighting climate change.






Mother Earth News Fair Schedule 2019

MOTHER EARTH NEWS FAIR

Next: February, 16-17 2019
Belton, TX

Whether you want to learn how to grow and raise your own food, build your own root cellar, or create a green dream home, come out and learn everything you need to know — and then some!

LEARN MORE






Subscribe Today - Pay Now & Save 64% Off the Cover Price

Money-Saving Tips in Every Issue!

Mother Earth NewsAt MOTHER EARTH NEWS, we are dedicated to conserving our planet's natural resources while helping you conserve your financial resources. You'll find tips for slashing heating bills, growing fresh, natural produce at home, and more. That's why we want you to save money and trees by subscribing through our earth-friendly automatic renewal savings plan. By paying with a credit card, you save an additional $5 and get 6 issues of MOTHER EARTH NEWS for only $12.95 (USA only).

You may also use the Bill Me option and pay $17.95 for 6 issues.

Canadian Subscribers - Click Here
International Subscribers - Click Here
Canadian subscriptions: 1 year (includes postage & GST).


Facebook Pinterest Instagram YouTube Twitter flipboard

Free Product Information Classifieds newsletter