Darrieus-type vertical axis wind turbines have a number of potential advantages for small-scale and domestic applications. For such applications, the issues of cost and reliability are paramount and hence simplicity of design of the structure, the generator, and any control system is vital. A particular concern relating to Darrieus turbines is their potential to self-start. If, as has been suggested by several authors, they require external assistance to start then much of their advantage is lost. The purpose of the study described here is, therefore, to investigate their starting performance through the development and validation of computational simulation and to determine the parameters that govern the capability to self-start. A case study is presented based upon the use of the widely used and well documented, symmetrical NACA 0012 turbine blade profile. It is shown that a lightly loaded, three-bladed rotor always has the potential to self start under steady wind conditions, whereas the starting of a two-bladed device is dependent upon its initial starting orientation
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