Quarterly report pursuant to Section 13 or 15(d)

Note 1 - Organization

Note 1 - Organization
6 Months Ended
Jun. 30, 2022
Notes to Financial Statements  
Nature of Operations [Text Block]

1. Organization


Aqua Metals (NASDAQ: AQMS) is engaged in the business of equipment supply, technology licensing and related services to recyclers across the globe. Our recycling process is a patented hydrometallurgical technology that is a novel, proprietary and patented process we developed and named AquaRefining. AquaRefining is a room temperature, water and organic acid-based process that greatly reduces environmental footprint by reducing green house gases. The modular Aqualyzers cleanly generate ultra-pure metal one atom at a time, closing the sustainability loop for the rapidly growing energy storage economy. Our process was originally designed for lead recycling. Lead is a globally traded commodity with a worldwide market value in excess of $20 billion. We believe our suite of patented and patent pending AquaRefining technologies will allow the lead-acid battery industry to simultaneously improve the environmental impact of lead recycling and scale recycling production to meet demand. Furthermore, our AquaRefining technologies result in high purity lead. We are also applying our commercialized clean, water-based recycling technology principles to develop the cleanest and most cost-efficient recycling solution for lithium-ion batteries. We believe our process has the potential to produce higher quality products at a lower operating cost without the damaging effects of furnaces and greenhouse emissions. Aqua Metals estimates its total addressable market for lithium-ion battery recycling will be approximately $9 billion by 2025.


We completed the development of our first LAB recycling facility located in the Tahoe Reno Industrial Center in McCarran, Nevada (“TRIC”) and commenced production of battery breaking and limited operations during the first quarter of 2017. From April 2017 through April 2018, we commenced the shipment of products for sale, consisting of lead compounds as well as plastics and limited production of lead bullion, including AquaRefined lead. During 2018, we commenced the sale of pure AquaRefined lead in the form of two tonne blocks and AquaRefined lead in the form of battery manufacturing ready ingots. In November 2018, we received official vendor certification from Clarios for our AquaRefined lead and commenced shipments directly to Clarios owned and partner battery manufacturing facilities. In 2019, we operated our demonstration AquaRefinery at commercial quantity production levels and produced over 35,000 AquaRefined ingots by operating the AquaRefinery twenty-four hours a day and seven days a week for sustained periods of time. The AquaRefining Aqualyzers in operation ran sustained endurance runs for over one month several times.


During the first half of 2020, we successfully performed test runs on the first and second iterations of our Aqualyzer as part of our V1.25L program. The program consists of three iterations that are classified as V1.25a, V1.25b and the final iteration, V1.25L. During the fourth quarter of 2020, we completed our V1.25L Aqualyzer program on time and under budget, achieving lead production that is 100% greater compared to the V1.0 Aqualyzer deployed at the AquaRefinery during commercial production in 2018 and 2019. In August 2021, we announced the completion of the V1.5 Aqualyzer. This latest Aqualyzer configuration has now achieved lead production that is over 300% greater than the V1.0 Aqualyzer deployed at the AquaRefinery during commercial production in 2018 and 2019. These results are expected to positively impact capital and operating expenses for the Company’s equipment supply and technology licensing customers. The increase in throughput results in a reduction of more than 60% in the number of Aqualyzers needed for equivalent lead production delivered by the V1.0 model, reducing capital and labor and footprint requirements. This latest iteration has also increased electrical efficiency to 97%, which further improves operating costs.


In February 2021, we announced a strategic investment in LINICO Corporation of up to $2 million to be paid in Aqua Metals shares and cash for an approximate 12% ownership in LINICO as part of our strategy to strengthen growth by potentially applying AquaRefining intellectual property to lithium-ion battery recycling while meeting our lead recycling commercial guidance. In November 2021, Aqua Metals and LINICO signed a collaboration agreement which sets the parameters for future research and development cooperation, as both companies expand into lithium-ion battery recycling and advance our technologies designed to recycle lithium-ion batteries cost-effectively and sustainably. Aqua Metals and LINICO plan to source the necessary lithium-ion feedstock from battery manufacturing scrap and end-of-life cells from various sources, including electric vehicle battery suppliers interested in participating in the eco-network the two companies announced in 2021. LINICO intends to process the feedstock into high-quality black mass utilizing its proprietary process. The resulting black mass will be used as input feedstock for Aqua Metals’ AquaRefining pilot cells intended to create high purity metals such as nickel, cobalt, and copper as well as other compounds. 


In August 2021, we announced that we had established an Innovation Center focused on applying our proven technology to lithium-ion battery recycling research and development and prototype system activities. During the first half of 2022, we announced our ability to recover copper, lithium hydroxide, nickel, and cobalt from lithium-ion battery black mass at the Company's Innovation Center. Our strategic decision to apply our proven clean, closed-loop hydrometallurgical and electro-chemical recycling experience to lithium-ion battery recycling is designed to meet the growing demand for critical metals driven by the global transition to electric vehicles, growth in Internet data centers, and alternative energy applications including solar, wind, and grid-scale storage.