Amogy Spotlight: Young Suk Jo

Today, we invite readers to learn more about Young Suk Jo, Amogy’s visionary Chief Technology Officer and Co-Founder! Dive into Young’s journey, learn more about the origins of Amogy, and discover the significance of our upcoming tugboat demonstration. 

Name: Young Suk Jo
Job title: CTO
Team: Research & Development
Location: Brooklyn, NY  

Born and raised in South Korea, Young first made his way to the United States to study mechanical engineering at Rice University in Houston, Texas. He then furthered his education at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) where he earned a master’s and Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering. During his time at MIT, he discovered an interest in energy conversion, which led him toward research on internal combustion engines and the field’s evolving technology. 

Beginning his career at Shell, Young continued to focus on internal combustion engines while broadening his scope to explore alternative fuels, particularly in the realm of battery and fuel cell electric vehicles, which is where he was first introduced to hydrogen as a promising energy source. He then returned to Korea to fulfill his military duty, where he served in the national lab doing research that focused on hydrogen storage materials such as ammonia.

Young was eventually approached by his friend from MIT, our CEO Seonghoon Woo, about starting a business together. Leveraging Young’s research on ammonia as a hydrogen carrier, he and the other co-founders began developing the concept for Amogy and our ammonia-to-power technology.  

Since the founding of Amogy in November 2020, Young has spearheaded our research and development efforts. Under his leadership, we have successfully demonstrated the world’s first carbon-free, ammonia-powered drone and tractor, and now are working towards the next and final demonstration of our technology in a tugboat. 

Tell us about how Amogy has evolved since its inception. 

It’s incredible how much Amogy has achieved and how much we have grown since the beginning. I have to emphasize that our technology is a result of the collective efforts of our early team members. Collaboration has always been a cornerstone of Amogy’s success and it’s remarkable to see how teamwork has really propelled us. 

Looking back over the past few years, one major highlight was the tractor demonstration, where we scaled our technology by 20x, from 5kW to 100kW, in less than one year. I have a lot of fond memories of the teamwork involved in making that project a success. And it was that success that truly allowed us to get to where we are today.  

It’s been a privilege to witness the growth of our incredible team. Everyone’s strength and dedication give me optimism about Amogy’s trajectory and our ability to achieve our mission. With this group of people working toward the same goal, there is nothing we can’t do. 

What is the role of the R&D team at Amogy? 

Since the beginning, the main focus of our R&D team has been developing the core components of our technology. However, as we’ve progressed, our focus has recently expanded to cover broader aspects such as technology development strategy, materials research, and IP portfolio, as well as functions such as manufacturing and facility buildout. This expansion ultimately enhances our capabilities as we move toward commercialization. As the first team at Amogy, I consider R&D to be an incubation organization where mission-critical teams branch out. 

What is the significance of this upcoming tugboat demonstration? 

First, on a larger scale, as the first carbon-free, ammonia-powered vessel, this demonstration will mark a historic milestone in the ongoing clean energy transition. I believe this achievement will serve as an important milestone in the journey of decarbonization for the maritime sector and will show that ammonia can be safely and effectively used as a primary fuel in a maritime vessel. 

Beyond its symbolic importance, the demonstration will be a tangible validation of our technology in the very environment it is designed to impact. This real-world application showcases the effectiveness of our solution and reaffirms our commitment to our primary target market, and also provides valuable learnings toward future maritime applications. 

Which Amogy core value resonates most with you? Why? 

For me, it’s execution. Execution is often the most challenging aspect of any endeavor. Regardless of how brilliant an idea or plan may be, its success ultimately hinges on effective execution. Engineers truly shine when they can execute and turn concepts into reality. It is those who execute that can truly make the difference in achieving our goals. 

Learn more about our upcoming tugboat demonstration and sign up to follow its progress here.