Indirect air CO2 capture and refinement based on OTEC seawater outgassing

Paul J.T. Straatman, Wilfried G.J.H.M. van Sark*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


In this paper, we propose a low-cost method to capture and purify CO2 from ocean water indirectly from the atmosphere. Atmospheric CO2 dissolves in seawater following Henry's law. In open-cycle ocean thermal energy conversion (OC-OTEC), being a heat engine, large quantities of water are used to generate electricity from temperature differences in the ocean. CO2 and other gases dissolved in seawater are extracted from seawater by a vacuum compressor, being essential for heat transfer in OC-OTEC. Non-condensable gases containing CO2 from OC-OTEC are currently considered a waste gas stream. Based on literature, we calculate cold water non-condensables containing up to 14% CO2. These non-condensables can be refined further to 80–90% purity with a water absorption process, inspired by those as used in the biogas industry. Levelized CO2 capture and purification costs were estimated to be 15–35 euro per ton, as only refinement costs are allocated of a waste gas stream of OC-OTEC.

Original languageEnglish
Article number102754
Pages (from-to)1-13
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 23 Jul 2021


  • Earth sciences
  • Energy engineering
  • Energy resources
  • Energy sustainability
  • Engineering


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