Public Release: 

Anniversary grant from VILLUM FONDEN for a new center for developing sustainable

Technical University of Denmark

To convert our planet's consumption of fossil fuels, we need to develop new technologies that can ensure that we have electricity, fuel, and the necessary chemicals when we no longer can use fossil resources.

With a large grant of DKK 150 million, VILLUM FONDEN supports the establishment of the new research centre 'VILLUM Center for Science of Sustainable Fuels and Chemicals', which will be anchored at DTU Physics in Lyngby. This is VILLUM FONDEN's biggest research initiative ever.

The new centre at DTU will be headed by Professor Ib Chorkendorff who will bring together a team of researchers from Stanford University, the University of Copenhagen, and the University of Southern Denmark, among others. In the next eight years, the group will concentrate its efforts on developing the much-coveted technology that can ensure a fossil-free energy and fuel as well as chemical production.

Professor Ib Chorkendorff says: "The grant gives us a unique opportunity to contribute to the green transformation of global society. We will also get a rare chance to test ideas along the way, which are in high risk of not succeeding, but again have the potential to become the technological breakthroughs the world needs. We are facing numerous and very complex technological challenges, and we cannot solve these alone. But we can provide a valuable contribution and help pave the way to a society where prosperity and growth are not based on the extraction of fossil resources that harm the climate, the environment, and biodiversity," says Professor Ib Chorkendorff.

DTU's President Anders Bjarklev, states that DTU is extremely pleased with the grant which supports the University's vision for sustainable value creation. He adds:

"The world is facing major technological challenges that we must solve before we can carry out the green conversion in our societies. Even though it is desirable to stop the consumption of fossil fuels today, it is truly unrealistic. We still lack technology that can replace the fossil fuel resources in, for example, aircraft fuel, in the chemical production, and, to some extent, also the energy supply. Many of the green technologies which we will need are either not mature nor invented yet."

VILLUM FONDEN is the majority shareholder in the VKR Group, which includes, among others, VELUX, and it is on the occasion of VKR Group's 75th anniversary in 2016 that VILLUM FONDEN has taken this extraordinary research initiative with the grant of DKK 150 million VILLUM FONDEN invited all Danish universities to come up with project proposals for 'a research or development project with the potential to make a significant contribution to the long-term protection of the Earth's climate, the environment, and/or biodiversity."

The project proposals received have since been thoroughly evaluated by an international committee of independent scientists.

Jens Kann-Rasmussen, Chairman of the Board of VILLUM FONDEN, says:

"With this initiative, VILLUM FONDEN wishes to make a significant contribution to the long-term protection of the Earth's climate and the environment. The research centre will be a powerful vehicle for reaching this goal. We hope that the research conducted at the new centre will be of the highest standard and that the results will provide a contribution to a future without fossil fuels. There are no guarantees when backing basic research, but as a philanthropic foundation, it is our privilege to be able to contribute and assume such a risk."

"A grant of this size is possible only because the employees in our Group every day work very hard so that we, as a foundation, can support ground-breaking research. We are very proud of this," says Jens Kann-Rasmussen.


Additional information:

Professor Ib Chorkendorff, tel. +45 45 25 31 70, email:

Press contact Eva Beckmann, VILLUM FONDEN, tel. +45 20 84 20 85,

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