Randall von Wedel is the founder and Principal Biochemist for CytoCulture International, an environmental laboratory and consulting firm on the San Francisco Bay.
Randall is a graduate of Dartmouth College and received his Doctorate in Biochemistry (Ph.D. 1981) from the University California Medical Center in San Francisco. After a career in basic medical research and the biotechnology industry, he applied his science background to working on environmental clean-up technologies.
Starting in 1993, Dr. von Wedel helped introduce biodiesel to California as an alternative fuel for boats to reduce air/water pollution. By 1996 he was awarded a US DOE grant to research and develop a ‘marine biodiesel’ market for recreational boats on the SF Bay.
In 1999 he established the first B-20 fleet in California at UC Davis and the world’s first citywide B100 fleet at Berkeley. In 2001, Randall co-founded the first B100 retail station on the continent; today there are 200 pumps nationwide.
In 2006 San Francisco transitioned to operating transit fleets/public works vehicles on B20 under guidelines, consulting and testing services provided by BioSolar. In 2005, Randall assisted Pacific Gas & Electric as they expanded B20 statewide and by 2008 he set up the Caltrans B20 fleet.
Dr. von Wedel invented and commercialized the “pHLip Test” as a reliable, inexpensive and easy field assay for checking biodiesel quality. The kit is distributed internationally and endorsed by the NBB (www.phliptest.com, www.allthingsbiodiesel.com). His CA laboratory provides B100 fuel testing services to large fleets.
Randall continues as a consultant to the City of San Francisco, Disneyland, Disney World, the utility fleets of Pacific Gas & Electric and Florida Power & Light, and other large fleets helping them source sustainable feedstock biodiesel, set protective fuel contract specifications, and establish biodiesel fuel quality monitoring programs. He is a consultant to and a regular speaker for the National Biodiesel Board. The NBB awarded him the 2009 Biodiesel Impact Award at the 2009 National Biodiesel Conference in SF.
Randall’s current research focuses on sustainable oil seed cultivation in the US and abroad as long-term feedstock for regional biodiesel plants. ‘BioSolar’ is derived from his research to integrate oil seed and solar photovoltaic farming to obtain ‘two solar energies’ from land.
Dr. von Wedel is a board member of the Sustainable Biodiesel Alliance and an advisor to the National Biodiesel Foundation.