News & Events

Advanced Power Control Solutions Takes First Prize in BIG IDEA Contest!


ERIE, PA– At an event held in Knowledge Park, adjacent to the campus of Penn State Erie – The Behrend College, Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Central & Northern PA announced the grand prize winner of the BIG IDEA Business Plan Contest.  The winner, Advanced Power Control Solutions LLC (APCS), developed an innovative coal/natural gas hybrid burner technology that allows compliance with EPA requirements and increases power output from existing coal fired power generation facilities prevalent in Pennsylvania.

Located in the Erie Technology Incubator (ETI), on the campus of Gannon University, APCS offers two proprietary technologies providing significant benefits to coal-fired power plants. Their innovative technology allows coal-fired power plants to displace 30% to 40% of the coal they burn with cleaner natural gas or natural gas liquids. APCS modifies the plant’s existing coal burners through a cost-effective retrofit process providing the utility with significant competitive advantage and reduced plant downtime. This technology may have far-reaching impact for the coal-power industry both in the U.S. and abroad.

APCS also offers fully commercialized technology that efficiently facilitates the introduction of various chemical compounds into the furnace that reduces the volume of pollutants released into the atmosphere. These compounds also significantly impact slagging and increase plant efficiency. The reduction in SOx, NOx and other environmental toxins mitigates the need for the installation of expensive SCR systems.

 Accepting the award for the company was APCS’s President, Tom Woodward.  Mr. Woodward commented, “Pennsylvania is a leader in coal energy production and is very interested in the opportunity these technologies offer to economically improve the environment and protect jobs. I’m proud that APCS is providing innovative solutions for these serious global problems and am honored to be the winner of Ben Franklin’s Business Plan Contest.”  To learn more about APCS, access their website at or phone – (480) – 414-7008

 Stephen Brawley, President/CEO of Ben Franklin, said, “We had a huge response to the announcement of this year’s contest.  We have always believed that this region has considerable interest in entrepreneurial startup activity. The nearly 2,000 people who came to the website to check out the application process proved we were right. All the finalists did a tremendous job. Anyone with the courage, energy and enthusiasm to start their own businesses is a winner in our book. We’re hoping that when folks leave tonight they tell three or four people about this afternoon’s event.”  

The prize package won by Advanced Power Control Solutions LLC includes $35,000, six months of residence at Erie Technology Incubator at Gannon University (, one year free tuition for classes/seminars offered by the eMarketing Learning Center (, and a free, five-hour consult on intellectual property (IP) from Attorney Jonathan D’Silva with the Erie Law Firm, MacDonald, Illig, Jones, & Britton (  

 Two other finalists, Adaptmicrosys LLC, and reCAP Mason Jars received $10,000 in seed money from Ben Franklin for their outstanding business plan presentations.  Kyu Jung, Ph.D., President of Adaptmicrosys and a Professor at Gannon University, is developing leading-edge, adaptive semiconductor technology that provides higher energy savings, more efficiency, and greatly increased performance in a variety of smart-connected devices.  Karen Rzepecki, Founder of reCAP, manufactures high-quality plastic caps for Mason jars, which currently are top sellers on Amazon. reCAP was also the 2011 winner of the InnovationErieDesign Competition.

 Ben Franklin Technology Partners CNP, an initiative of the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development and funded by the Ben Franklin Technology Development Authority, provides investment capital and business support services to emerging tech-based companies and small manufacturers for the purpose of creating and retaining jobs in Pennsylvania.  Contact the Erie office of Ben Franklin in Knowledge Park at (814) 898-6650 or see our website at