Vertical-axis wind turbines (VAWTs) are a promising solution for the use of renewable energy in residential areas. Compared to traditional horizontal-axis wind turbines (HAWTs), VAWTs are usually smaller, quieter, and insensitive to the wind direction and can be installed in a wide range of urban, suburban and rural places such as top of buildings, backyard, etc. In addition, VAWTs require a lower wind speed to self-start which increases the capability of wind energy extraction in the areas with low wind speed. However, VAWTs are less efficient and the power output of VAWTs is substantially affected by the phenomenon of dynamic stall induced by the variations of angle of attack of rotating blades, especially at low tip speed ratios (λTSR<4). When the dynamic stall vortices, formed near the leading-edge, are transported downstream, it creates large and sudden fluctuations in torques. At low values of the tip speed ratio and relatively low Reynolds number (Re<105), dynamic stall occurs periodically throughout the rotation of the blades. This results a sharp drop in lift coefficient and therefore rotor torque and power output are substantially reduced. The purpose of the present study is to investigate the prospects for improving the flow performances of small VAWTs using serrated leading-edge configurations on straight blades in a conventional H-type VAWT design to control dynamic flow separation. A numerical study is carried out to obtain the detailed flow fields for analysis and visualization. The results show that the turbine blade with the serration profiles of h = 0.025c (amplitude) and λs = 0.33c (wavelength) not only increased the power generation at low TSRs, but also enhanced the capability of wind energy extraction at the optimum TSR in comparison to the baseline model. The dynamic stall was suppressed significantly in the range of the azimuth angle from 80° to 160°. The flow separation induced by large angles of attack was essentially alleviated in the modified turbine model due to the serrated configuration implemented on the blade leading-edge.

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