BTB: River water heat pumps from Berlin

© BTB GmbH

Imagine this: You live in Berlin and your district heating comes directly from the River Spree! Just like magic! 

The Berlin company BTB launched an exciting and pioneering project in the capital city’s district of Schöneweide to put this idea into practice. Resplendent in bright blue, two river water heat pumps draw water from the River Spree in Berlin and feed it into the hot water circuit of the adjacent district heating grid, which measures around 170 km in length. A revolution on the Berlin energy market! 

Not only does the use of environmental heat with river water cut CO2 emissions by reducing the service life of fossil generators. It also benefits the aquatic ecosystemas the water is cooled by 4 degrees Celsius when it is guided back into the Spree. 

About BTB

BTB GmbH Berlin was established 1990 in Germany’s capital. The company plans, finances, constructs and operates energy supply systems, grids and decentralised standalone systems, as well as offering additional services in the energy sector. A specialist for combined heat and power plants and renewable generation systems, BTB uses a heating network to supply around 100,000 homes, commercial properties, public facilities and important industrial and research sites.

The innovation behind river water heat pumps

River water heat pumps use water from the Spree to generate renewable energies (heat).

The process involves guiding river water with slight negative pressure into a channel belonging to the intake unit. Customers can rest assured that fish and other aquatic beings are protected as a matter of course. The water is subsequently filtered multiple times and then enters the pump station, where it collects in a basin and is treated for downstream use. Installed in the adjacent machine house, river water heat pumps extract thermal energy from the water up to the temperature required for the district heating grid. The thermal energy is then released into the hot water system in the neighbouring district’s heating network, and the cooled river water flows back into the Spree. A cycle that promotes green heat generation at the site!

Even today, this innovation is preparing the ground for the phase-out of coal at the Schöneweide CHP plant in 2024. The aim is to construct an energy park with a variety of sustainable generation modules by 2030. River water heat pumps are therefore an important contributor to the CO2-free future of the energy park

Working at BTB

The BTB team seeks to deliver reliable, affordable and sustainable energy to its customers. Not only do the company’s outstanding service and innovative capacity fuel the success of BTB as an E.ON subsidiary, they are also key drivers of the energy transition. From career entrants to seasoned professionals – the company is always looking for qualified staff for technical and business roles. Current vacancies include positions as engineers, technicians and specialists in various areas of business. BTB offers fair payment, 30 days of holiday leave, a Christmas bonus, flexitime arrangements and many other attractive benefits. It is worth taking a look at the BTB careers page.


Are you interested in working on the energy transition? If so, check out our magazine article entitled “Career prospects in the energy transition: Green jobs with a future in Berlin”. Learn more about which jobs in Berlin are being recruited for and where you can find them. Read the article now!