WASHINGTON, June 20--A living outdoor exhibit showcasing a range of existing and potential bioenergy crops opens on June 21 at the U.S. National Arboretum in Washington, D.C.
Arboretum visitors will be able to stroll through a well-tended garden and learn more about the 21 plants on display, which include field crops, palms, trees, flowering annuals and algae. Interpretive materials will provide information about how each plant can be used for biofuel production. This one-acre exhibit is the first of its kind in a U.S. botanical garden.
The U.S. National Arboretum is operated by the Agricultural Research Service (ARS), a scientific research agency of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). USDA Research, Education and Economics (REE) Under Secretary Gale A. Buchanan is a strong supporter of the Power Plants exhibit and of USDA bioenergy activities.
"REE agencies are committed to supporting the development of bioenergy to the fullest possible extent," Buchanan said. "We’re working on several fronts, from maximizing favorable plant traits for the efficient production of biofuels to optimizing cropping systems and conversion techniques, to ensure that everyone in the United States can benefit from biofuels."
For their part, ARS scientists across the country are studying a wide array of plants to assess and improve them as sources of cellulosic biofuels. The scientists also are developing sustainable crop production systems and new biorefining technologies.
Two other agencies in REE's mission area--the Economic Research Service and the Cooperative State Research, Education and Extension Service--support a range of bioenergy-related efforts. Their activities include educational and external research efforts and tracking economic trends associated with biofuel production and development.
“Power Plants” is one component of the REE mission area’s second annual Bioenergy Awareness Days (BEAD II). This event is designed to increase awareness and knowledge related to the sustainable production of agriculture-based and natural resource-based renewable energy. It also highlights the efficient use and conservation of energy for the benefit of rural communities and the nation.
The U.S. National Arboretum is located in northeast Washington and is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. every day except Christmas and New Year's Day. Admission and parking are free. For more information and for directions, please see the arboretum's web site at www.usna.usda.gov.