So while scientists are scrambling to find the next big energy source that doesn’t suck our planet dry or turn it into a shriveled prune, farmers are getting happy with their cows. The cows’ poop, to be more specific.

A big pooper-scooper drops the goods into a tank that lets bacteria feed (yum), and voilà, methane. The gas is captured and converted to power electric generators—enough for 400 homes. When the bacteria are fat & lazy, the tank squeezes out the remaining liquid, which is used to fertilize the fields. The fluffy dry poo that’s left over (sans the stink) makes a nice cozy bedding for the cows.

Cows are cool. Who knew?