Variable pitch approach for performance improving of straight-bladed VAWT at rated tip speed ratio

Zhenzhou Zhao*, Ruixin Wang, Wenzhong Shen, Tongguang Wang, Bofeng Xu, Yuan Zheng, Siyue Qian

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

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This paper presents a new variable pitch (VP) approach to increase the peak power coefficient of the straight-bladed vertical-axis wind turbine (VAWT), by widening the azimuthal angle band of the blade with the highest aerodynamic torque, instead of increasing the highest torque. The new VP-approach provides a curve of pitch angle designed for the blade operating at the rated tip speed ratio (TSR) corresponding to the peak power coefficient of the fixed pitch (FP)-VAWT. The effects of the new approach are exploited by using the double multiple stream tubes (DMST) model and Prandtl's mathematics to evaluate the blade tip loss. The research describes the effects from six aspects, including the lift, drag, angle of attack (AoA), resultant velocity, torque, and power output, through a comparison between VP-VAWTs and FP-VAWTs working at four TSRs: 4, 4.5, 5, and 5.5. Compared with the FP-blade, the VP-blade has a wider azimuthal zone with the maximum AoA, lift, drag, and torque in the upwind half-cycle, and yields the two new larger maximum values in the downwind half-cycle. The power distribution in the swept area of the turbine changes from an arched shape of the FP-VAWT into the rectangular shape of the VP-VAWT. The new VP-approach markedly widens the highest-performance zone of the blade in a revolution, and ultimately achieves an 18.9% growth of the peak power coefficient of the VAWT at the optimum TSR. Besides achieving this growth, the new pitching method will enhance the performance at TSRs that are higher than current optimal values, and an increase of torque is also generated.
Original languageEnglish
Article number957
JournalApplied Sciences (switzerland)
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2018


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