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Microalgae Bioprospecting at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory

Prospecting for elusive fast-growing, oily microalgae is a muddy but rewarding job for National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) researcher Lee Elliott. Trees, grasses, and shrubs typically are not very efficient in capturing and converting the sun's energy into biomass, but some algae are believed to be capable of much higher efficiencies - with some scientists thinking ideal strains may be able to approach the maximum theoretical photosynthetic efficiency under the right conditions.