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One of the most critical issues in wireless sensor networks is represented by the limited availability of energy on network nodes; thus, making good use of energy is necessary to increase network lifetime. In this paper, we present an energy-efficient maximum lifetime (EEML) algorithm in wireless sensor networks. EEML improves energy utility by changing the activity of wireless communication module of sensor nodes, energy model and state transition of sensor nodes. And employs the subset of active sensor nodes to build a routing tree for transmission, in the course of processing, dynamic computing the energy consumption to determine one node whether or not is active to prolong the network lifetime. Simulation results show that EEML performs better than DD and EER algorithm for wireless sensor network with high-density deployment and low traffic.