A significant obstacle to the widespread large-scale utilization of ocean thermal energy is the low temperature of the heat source, which restricts the turbine inlet to saturated steam conditions and results in notably reduced turbine efficiency. In this paper, a novel temperature-lifting based Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion cycle (OTEC) is proposed. The cycle combines the second-type absorption heat pump and the Rankine power cycle to overheat the working fluid at the turbine inlet using both surface and deep seawater, thereby mitigating the adverse effects of low surface seawater temperatures on energy conversion. The thermodynamic model is developed for this proposed cycle, 22 wet working fluids are selected for the Rankine sub-cycle. A comparative analysis with the traditional Rankine cycles is conducted to evaluate the cycle performance. The results show that the overheated temperature at the turbine inlet reaches up to 44.7 °C relying on the ocean thermal energy. In contrast to the traditional Rankine cycle, the proposed cycle achieved an average thermal efficiency improvement of 40 % and a substantial increase in exergy efficiency, ranging from 17.99–57.58 % to 32.83–68.88 %. The economic analysis reveals that the optimal cost is reduced by 38 % compared to the Rankine cycle, leading to a lower levelized cost of energy, down from 0.18 $/kWh to 0.13 $/kWh. This novel cycle offers an economically efficient and easily implementable approach to enhance low-grade thermal energy conversion.