Dec 21 • 3 min read

Two start-ups selected for small business incubator after pitch contest among energy entrepreneurs

Philadelphia Gas Works (PGW) and Temple University’s Small Business Development Center (SBDC) announced that ATP-PA, LLC and Metal Light have been selected to join The Energy Innovation Lab, a small business incubator designed to empower energy entrepreneurs whose product or service ideas have the potential to reimagine the future of the energy industry. PGW and SBDC created the incubator in the summer of 2021 to foster environmentally friendly concepts that meet the evolving energy needs of Philadelphia residents, underserved communities, and businesses.  

At a virtual pitch competition on December 15, 2021, a panel of judges from Philadelphia’s leading energy, innovation, and start-up development organizations evaluated the ideas of three finalists: ATP-PA, Metal Light and EnMeter. Judging criteria included the proposals viability; alignment with PGW’s mission of enhancing the quality of life for all by delivering safe, reliable, affordable energy in an environmentally responsible way; and increasing energy access for underserved communities.

ATP-PA’s winning entry is its founder’s patented Combined Remediation Biomass and Bio-Product Production (CRBBP) Process, an economical method of capturing carbon dioxide to combat climate change and provide other environmental services, and then converting the harvested material into bio-products for use in the circular economy. The four-year-old, Pennsylvania-based company was founded by Joe James, a former economic development professional.

Metal Light’s winning concept would develop the first portable power generator fueled by metal and air as a backup power source for urban households. The generator is intended to operate safely and silently indoors and is emissions-free. The idea is the brainchild of Minhal Dhanjy, CEO of Metal Light; Ryan Goethals, Metal Light’s Chief Technology Officer; and James Pikul, an associate professor at the University of Pennsylvania.

When ATP-PA and Metal Light begin their two-year incubation at The Energy Innovation Lab, headquartered at Temple’s SBDC, they will receive hands-on training, mentoring, real-time feedback from PGW energy industry experts and SBDC business development consultants, and up to $30,000 each in seed funding.

“The Temple SBDC was interested in hosting an energy incubator to add to our services for small, energy-focused businesses like ATP-PA and Metal Light,” said Maura Shenker, Director of Temple University’s Small Business Development Center. “We’re excited to see what the future holds for these outstanding energy entrepreneurs and the impact their solutions will have on making Philadelphia a cleaner, greener city.”

The Energy Innovation Lab is an extension of PGW’s long-standing, proactive commitment to expand energy access and affordability, develop new business opportunities in Philadelphia, and lead the drive toward a clean energy future for the City.

“Both ATP-PA’s and Metal Light’s solutions align with The Energy Innovation Lab’s mission of leveraging the creativity and diversity of the entrepreneurial community to develop the next generation of environmentally friendly energy solutions,” said Elliott Gold, Vice President of Corporate Planning at PGW. “We’re excited to work with both companies and see their ideas come to fruition. PGW is also proud to continue our partnership with SBDC to promote small business development and further energy entrepreneurship.”

To learn more about The Energy Innovation Lab, ATP-PA, LLC, and Metal Light, please visit


About PGW

Founded in 1836, The Philadelphia Gas Works (PGW) is owned by the City of Philadelphia and is the largest municipally-owned gas utility in the country. It manages a distribution system of approximately 6,000 miles of gas mains and service pipes supplying approximately 500,000 customers. PGW’s operations are managed by a non-profit corporation, the Philadelphia Facilities Management Corporation (PFMC). More information about the company is available at

About the Temple Small Business Development Center

Temple University SBDC is hosted at the Fox School of Business at Temple University and funded in part by the United States Congress through a partnership with the U.S. Small Business Administration. Our mission is to provide entrepreneurs and small business owners with the knowledge needed to make smart decisions and prosper. Since 1983, we have provided no-cost business consulting and low-cost training to new and existing businesses in the Philadelphia region.

ATP-PAEnergy Innovation LabMetal LightPGWPitch ContestSmall Business Development CenterTemple Small Business Development Center