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The second sporting life of a turbine blade

Tuesday, 22 June 2021 09:11

With an eight metre long turbine blade mounted on a specially-designed trailer, Zwaan Buitensport offers a new challenge to sports fans. Read this story about Jurgen Zwaan, who has given new life to a discarded wing. With due thanks to Certion.

Jurgen Zwaan from Dronten has been devising activities focused on active relaxation in natural environments since 2007 for his outdoor business. These include survival running, archery, ball shooting in the organic orchard, rafting, canoeing and several other team activities. Or you could go all out on the obstacle course that Jurgen has devised himself on his own hectare-sized plot among the fields.

And now a climbing wing!

'About three years ago, the idea came to me to integrate a typically Flevoland element into that concept. And what could be more typical of Flevoland than the wind turbines that are to be found everywhere across the polders? I already knew Certion's Stephan de Lange from the Dronterland Survival Run, which was sponsored by both our businesses. Certion had this particular turbine blade stored at their outdoor premises waiting to be recycled, so it was made available to us'.

A genuinely local product then?

'Absolutely, because research showed that the glass fibre blade was originally built by a Dutch production business that was later taken over by Vestas. The interesting thing about this project is that many other local parties have participated in the reconstruction and finishing of the climbing wing. Several of the trailer parts are from Nagele, the welding work was done in Biddinghuizen, the hydraulics come from Lelystad and the securing system from Almere. I was also able to benefit from a Horizon Flevoland voucher towards the development costs'.

What is the added value of the climbing wing?

'As far as I know, our mobile climbing wing is unique in the Netherlands and surrounding countries. We wanted to be able to take the climbing wing, which weighs 950 kg, to all kinds of events, business parties or festivals, both at home and abroad. Wherever it is positioned, the climbing wing is a real eye catcher, so businesses might like to put their own company logo and flag on the wing, and it is obviously a challenge when it comes to climbing. We have set up two climbing routes, and we would really like to add a third on the convex side of the blade'.

What did the operation involve?

'Quite a lot, actually. First of all, helped by Certion, we had to cut down the 19m blade, after which we were left with the thickest 8m, the lowest part of the wing. That was to do with the maximum length permitted by law for transport on a trailer behind a car. We had the trailer customised as well so that we can transport the climbing wing, as well as propping it up and installing it, easily. We fitted the dozens of climbing holds to the wing ourselves'.

Is it safe?

'It certainly is, and that is of course the most important thing of all. We have had it all tested and approved, also in terms of wind load resistance. We also had a fully automated electrical securing system mounted on top of the blade to ensure that no fall can ever be in excess of a few centimetres. All things considered, this is an innovative invention for which thanks are also due to Certion, and I am very proud of it'.

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The second sporting life of a turbine blade