Increasing interest is being paid by architects, project developers and local governments to understand where small wind turbines can effectively be exploited to provide delocalized power in the built environment.
The wind conditions in the rooftop area of buildings in urban locations are, however, very complex and the real adaptability of wind turbines to these environments is not yet tested both in terms of real producibility and of structural compatibility with the building themselves. In these installations, in particular, the flow which incomes on the rotors is often inclined with respect to the horizontal direction due to the interaction with the building façade and the roof.
A correct estimation of the impact of an inclined flow on the performance of horizontal-axis wind turbines therefore becomes a very relevant issue to correctly predict the potential energy yield of a machine.
To this purpose, a simulation code based on a Blade Element Momentum (BEM) approach was developed and validated by means of experimental data found in the literature. The code was then used to evaluate the energetic suitability of a small-size wind turbine installation in the rooftop of a building in a conventional European city.
A numerical CFD analysis was carried out to characterize the flow field in the rooftop area of different buildings. The flow velocity modulus and direction were calculated for several oncoming wind profiles: the results were projected into an available wind power curve in the rooftop of the building.
The effective energy-yield capabilities were then corrected using the model for the flow inclination as a function of the specific flow conditions in the rooftop area.
The results were finally exploited to analyze the energy-oriented feasibility of an installation in a similar context.