Energy

The water always played a central role for the processing of silk raw materials in Gersau as route of transportation and an energy supplier. Early they recognized that the two village brooks in Gersau are very good and reliable energy suppliers. This possibility to use water power was the decisive point, why Josef Augustin Reding settled its silk-processing industry in Gersau and not in Schwyz. Owing to this water power the mechanization of the silk production was fast developed. With the building of the first silk factories 1846/47 in the "Eggi", 1859/60 in the "Bläui" and 1861 at the lake "Seefabrik" water power of the village brook was used for the first time directly with the help of a transmission belt drive for silk production.

At the beginning of the 20th Century the first high pressure water turbine with generator was installed in the "Bläui" factory, which supplied till to the 40'er years three-phase alternating current for the machines. 1941 decided Walter Camenzind senior (†1964) to cover the risen power requirement with a new modern high pressure pelton turbine of Bell (Luzern) and a synchronous engine of BBC (Zurich). This machine supplies till today economical three-phase alternating current for the silk spinning mill. Since more than 100 years our enterprise uses the water from the brook to produce clean renewable electric power.

After more than 60 years of running time, in March of 2010, our hydro-electric power plant has been replaced. The new turbine, the generator, the electrical connections and the pressure pipe has now an efficiency increase of 25% in comparison with the old plant from 1944. With the new plant we are able to produce a majority of the electric consumption of the spinning mill and save almost 100 tons of CO2 per year.

Turbine

Our new turbine is a vertical Peltonturbine with three nozzles, manufactured by the Wasserkraft Volk AG in Germany. The capacity of the plant with a net drop height of 132 meters and the maximum water quantity is at 283kW. This way we can produce about 900‘000 kWh electric power per year. This capacity would last about for 170 Swiss households for a whole year.

Pressure Pipe

The whole pressure line system is a new installation. The reason for this is the large head loss (1.5 bar) of the old pressure pipe (300mm inside diameter). The new pressure pipe has now an inside diameter of 400mm and occurs over a distance of 530 meters and a net drop height of 132 meters (191.4 psi)

Water Impoundment

The water for the power generation plant is taken from a wild creek „Täufibach“ at 610m above sea level. The water flows over a modern ‚barrage of Tirol‘ to separate the water from floating logs, leaves and stones. To avoid that all water is taken out of the creek, there is a small watergate which allows always a certain amount of water flows into the natural creek. This way it is ensured that all aquatics have also in dry seasons enough water to live.