MEMBER’S PRESS RELEASE: Sustainability key to making on-farm AD viable

With continued changes to Feed-in Tariffs and a lack of financial incentives for farmers, Derek Burgoyne, a Cambridgeshire-based businessman, has created a ‘truly sustainable’ AD system, which he says is key to making the technology viable in the future.

Derek and business partner John Dale, both directors of AD management company BioCow, set up a 500kW AD plant in Murrow, Cambridgeshire in 2010. Together, the pair have used their agricultural and commercial experience to create a ‘truly sustainable’ AD system, running purely on residual food waste and cow manure.

Derek explains:

We’ve built close relationships with a number of food producers in the Fenland area, who are happy to hand over their outer leaves, mishapes and peelings, all free of charge.


We then combine this with manure sourced from our farm as the primary feedstock for the plant, where we finish 3,000 beef cattle a year. We don’t grow any other crops on-farm specifically for the AD plant as this doesn’t support our sustainability focus.


After just seven years we have already paid off over half the investment. This a great testament to the viability of AD systems in the future, when a sustainable approach is taken.

Phil Gerrard, from AD funders Privilege Finance, explains why sustainability is key for farmers wishing to diversify into AD:

Where there is a ‘free’ source of feedstock, and a use for the end product such as the digestate back on the farm, the input costs are reduced and the farmer can save on other farm expenses such as fertilisers.


Fundamentally, this makes a project more attractive due to lower operational costs, and increased revenue through the savings made.

Derek believes that despite the current climate, AD is still viable for farmers producing livestock waste:

Although it’s been a challenging process, what we’ve done here can be replicated and AD can still be a flexible option on-farm. 

Find out more about Derek and John’s AD plant by visiting

Find out more about Privilege Finance by visiting or calling 01223 203398.

Posted in: Industry News, Members' press release

Tags: member's press release, sustainability, on-farm AD, food waste, digestate