This study employs the commercialized computational fluid dynamics software (Ansys/Fluent), with the user’s defined technique, to simulate the unsteady flow structures around the small-size vertical axis wind turbines (VAWT) with three straight blades. This study addresses the effects of the collective variations of the pitch angle (within ± 10°) on the performance of the VAWT system. The results of the transient (acceleration) stage will be employed to evaluate the self-starting ability. While the vertical axis wind turbine (VAWT) reaches a steady rotating stage, the detailed flow structures, the vorticity fields, the pressure distributions around, and the forces on the airfoils at various azimuthal positions will be addressed. For the blades with a negative pitch angle (θ = −10°), has the peak value of the moment coefficient within one revolution is the largest which will provide the largest starting torque to drive the VAWT system more easily. However, in this case, the moment coefficients are negative within some part of the period. This cancels part of the positive moment within one revolution, thus the efficiency is reduced at this pitch angle. For the case with positive pitch angle (θ = 10°), the area under the moment coefficient curve is the smallest and the time elapse of large moment coefficient is relatively short. Thus the efficiency and the starting torque are the lowest among thee pitch angles.

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