Development of polymer electrolyte membranes for electrochemical energy conversion technology

Chulsung Bae

Ford Foundation Professor

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

Chulsung Bae is Ford Foundation Endow Chair Professor at Department of Chemistry & Chemical Biology (with a joint appointment at Department of Chemical & Biological Engineering), Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI). Broadly speaking, Bae's research group focuses on development of functional polymeric materials that might find applications in the areas of clean energy technologies, using synthetic organic chemistry as a tool. Specific examples of projects include innovative ion conducting polymer electrolytes that can be used as a key component in next generation energy conversion and storage technologies, such as fuel cells, hydrogen production via water splitting, and redox flow battery, and functional polymers that can play a crucial role in energy efficient separation process.

Bae received BS in Polymer Science & Engineering at Inha University in 1992, MS in Materials Science at POSTECH in 1994 (both in Korea), MS in Chemistry at University of Massachusetts at Lowell in 1997, and Ph.D. in Chemistry at University of Southern California in 2002 under the guidance of Surya Prakash and Nobel Laureate George Olah. After postdoctoral research with John Hartwig at Yale University, he started independent academic career at University of Nevada Las Vegas (UNLV) as an Assistant Professor in 2004. In 2012 Bae relocated his research group to Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. Dr. Bae received a number of awards including New Investigator Award at UNLV (2005), National Science Foundation CAREER Award (2008), and RPI School of Science Outstanding Research Award (2016). In 2017 Dr. Bae received a $2.5 million contract from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Advanced Research Products Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) to develop innovative solid ion conducting materials for next generation energy conversion and storage technology. To expedite commercialization of ionic polymers developed from his laboratory and introduce them to clean energy technology industry, he co-founded a start-up company Orion Polymer Corp. in 2018. In his spare time, he enjoys listening rock music.