Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion and Other Uses of Deep Sea Water: A Review

Jorge Herrera, Santiago Sierra, Asier Ibeas

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articleResearchpeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


Research into renewable energy is an active field of research, with photovoltaic and wind being the most representative technologies. A promising renewable energy source is Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion (OTEC), based on the temperature gradient of seawater. This technology has two contradictory features, as its efficiency is relatively low while, on the other hand, its energy source is almost unlimited. OTEC research has focused on optimizing energy extraction, with different techniques having been used for this purpose. This article presents a review of the advances and applications of OTEC technology around the world. Throughout the document, the different uses of deep seawater are analyzed; further, the current systems which generate energy through the marine temperature gradient are reviewed, and the main advantages and disadvantages of each method are highlighted. The technical operations, construction variations, and the projects that have been developed around the world and those which are in the planning phase are also detailed. The two main conclusions are that this technology is still under development, but it is quite promising, especially for regions with little access to drinking water. Second, given the high implementation costs and low conversion efficiency, the development of this technology must be sponsored by governments.

Original languageEnglish
Article number356
JournalJournal of Marine Science and Engineering
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2021


  • Deep ocean water
  • Desalinization
  • Island
  • Marine energy
  • OTEC
  • Power plant


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