Who We Are

A Consortium of National Labs

The DISCOVR team constitutes a powerful partnership among four of the Department of Energy’s seventeen national laboratories: Los Alamos National Laboratory, National Renewable Energy Laboratory, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, and Sandia National Laboratories.

We are a team of biofuels and biotechnology experts who are joining forces to investigate algae strains that could lead to sustainable and clean algal biofuel.  Capabilities in our home laboratories—such as PNNL’s Laboratory Environmental Algae Pond Simulator photobioreactors, NREL’s biomass characterization and valorization tools, LANL’s strain identification and improvement approaches, and Sandia’s indoor crash testing ponds —are key to our success. We also have a collaborative partnership with the Arizona Center for Algae Technology and Innovation (AzCATI), which has an outdoor algae testbed facility at Arizona State University.

Lab Logos - Los Alamos National Laboratory, National Renewable Energy Laboratory, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Sandia National Laboratories

What We Do

DISCOVR has two primary goals
  1. Develop and implement a strain selection pipeline as a standardized and verified strain characterization process that evaluates algae strains with respect to their potential as future algae biomass/biofuels/bioproducts production strains.
  2.  Facilitating the execution of DOE-EERE Bioenergy Technologies Office’s (BETO) annual Algae State of Technology (SOT) campaign experimental support effort, which involves demonstrating progress towards out-year biomass productivity goals as outlined in the BETO Multi-Year Program Plan.


To accomplish these goals, we have established a new state-of-the-art for characterizing potential production microalgae strains to identify those that will best perform in an outdoor environment. In this research, critical questions are being answered about these strains related to outdoor performance, such as areal biomass productivity and response to biotic and abiotic stressors. As a result, we will deliver high-performing strains that will be made available to the algae community, with a robust data set that will broaden the scientific understanding of the economics and sustainability of the algae biofuels pathway across a range of strains.

Our Mission

To develop an integrated screening platform for the discovery of high-productivity and resilient strains of algae that can be cultivated outdoors year-round via crop rotation

The DISCOVR project supports the goal to increase, by 2025, the summer seasonal areal productivity to 25 grams per square meter per day (g/m2-d) from the 2016 benchmark of 13.3 g/m2-d.