12th European Conference on Turbomachinery Fluid dynamics & Thermodynamics
This paper investigates the impact of the standard approximations embodied in the well-known Momentum Theory on its performance prediction capabilities. To this aim, the results of the momentum theory, which is still widely used in all Blade Element/Momentum codes for the analysis and/or design of wind turbines, are compared with those obtained with an actuator disk model based on Computational Fluid Dynamics techniques. In this method, the axisymmetric and steady Euler equations are solved with a classical finite volume approach, while the turbine effects are modelled through a set of axial and tangential body forces distributed over a disk shaped region representing the rotor swept surface. Since this method does not rely on the momentum theory simplifying assumptions, it can be suitably employed to verify the momentum theory validity. The analysis is carried out using the well documented experimental data of the National Renewable Energy Laboratory Phase VI wind turbine.