Annual report pursuant to Section 13 and 15(d)

Significant Accounting Policies (Policies)

Significant Accounting Policies (Policies)
12 Months Ended
Dec. 31, 2023
Accounting Policies [Abstract]  
Basis of Accounting, Policy [Policy Text Block]

Basis of presentation and consolidation


The accompanying consolidated financial statements include those of Aqua Metals, Inc. and its subsidiaries (collectively, the “Company” or “Aqua Metals”), after elimination of all intercompany accounts and transactions. The Company has prepared the accompanying consolidated financial statements in accordance with accounting principles generally accepted in the United States of America (“GAAP”) and pursuant to the rules and regulations of the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (the “SEC”).

Use of Estimates, Policy [Policy Text Block]

Use of estimates


The preparation of the consolidated financial statements requires management of the Company to make a number of estimates and assumptions relating to the reported amount of assets and liabilities and the disclosure of contingent assets and liabilities at the date of the consolidated financial statements, and the reported amounts of expenses during the period. Significant items subject to such estimates and assumptions include the carrying amount and valuation of long-lived assets, valuation allowances for deferred tax assets, the determination of stock option expense and the determination of the fair value of stock warrants issued. Actual results could differ from those estimates.

Cash and Cash Equivalents, Policy [Policy Text Block]

Cash and cash equivalents


The Company considers all highly liquid instruments with original or remaining maturities of ninety days or less at the date of purchase to be cash equivalents. The Company maintains its cash balances in large financial institutions. Periodically, such balances may be in excess of federally insured limits.

Accounts Receivable [Policy Text Block]

Accounts receivable


The Company has traditionally sold its products to large well-established companies and extends credit without requiring collateral, based on an ongoing evaluation of the customer’s business prospects and financial condition. In the event that payment of a customer’s account receivable is doubtful, the Company would reserve the receivable under an allowance for doubtful accounts. As of December 31, 2023, the Company had no trade accounts receivable balance and has not created a reserve for doubtful accounts. The total accounts receivable balance as of  December 31, 2023 consisted of proceeds from the non-recurring engineering agreement with 6K Energy.

Financing Receivable [Policy Text Block]

Note receivable


As of December 31, 2023, the Company has a note receivable from the sale of stock in LINICO totaling $600,000. The proceeds will be received over a 12 month installment starting in January 2024. As of December 31, 2023, we evaluated the need for an allowance for credit loss using the guidelines set forth in ASC 326 CECL, and have determined this note is fully collectible and, therefore, we have not recorded an allowance against this balance.

Inventory, Policy [Policy Text Block]



Inventory is stated at the lower of cost or net realizable value. Cost is recorded on a first-in, first-out basis using the weighted average method. Net realizable value is determined as the estimated selling price in the ordinary course of business, less reasonably predictable costs of completion, disposal, and transportation. The Company records a write-down, if necessary, to reduce the carrying value of inventory to its net realizable value. The effect of these write-downs is to establish a new cost basis in the related inventory, which is not subsequently written up.

Property, Plant and Equipment, Policy [Policy Text Block]

Property, plant and equipment, net


Property, plant and equipment are stated at cost net of accumulated depreciation. Depreciation on property, plant and equipment is calculated on the straight-line basis over the estimated useful lives of the assets. Leasehold improvements are depreciated over the shorter of the life of the asset or the remaining term of the lease. 


Property, plant and equipment are stated at cost net of accumulated depreciation. Depreciation on property, plant and equipment is calculated on the straight-line basis over the estimated useful lives of the assets. Leasehold improvements are depreciated over the shorter of the life of the asset or the remaining term of the lease. We periodically evaluate our property, plant and equipment assets for indications that the carrying amount of an asset may not be recoverable. During 2023, management has shifted focus away from the original service under the ACME lead recycling license agreement to a new primary focus on the Lithium recycling business as a Company. As a result, management sees a decrease in the utilization of the ACME plant and its related operations, and assessed that the future expected cash flows connected with ACME are at or near zero. Therefore, at  December 31, 2023, we recognized write down of approximately $3,451,000 million to equipment under construction that was not yet capitalized related to the ACME CIP as a result of the suspension of the development of recycling operations at the ACME Metals Taiwanese facility. As of  December 31, 2022, management compared the carrying value of the assets held for sale against current fair market values. We determined the carrying value needed to be reduced to align with current fair market values. At December 31, 2022, we recognized a write down of $579,000 on the assets held for sale to their fair market value.

Intangible Assets, Finite-Lived, Policy [Policy Text Block]

Intellectual property, net


Intellectual property consists of patent applications contributed to the Company by five founding stockholders and patent applications for technology developed by the Company. The useful life of this intellectual property has been determined to be ten years and the assets are being amortized straight-line over this period. The Company periodically evaluates its intangible and other long-lived assets for indications that the carrying amount of an asset may not be recoverable. In reviewing for impairment, the Company compares the carrying value of such assets to the estimated undiscounted future cash flows expected from the use of the assets and their eventual disposition. When the estimated undiscounted future cash flows are less than their carrying amount, an impairment loss is recognized equal to the difference between the assets’ fair value and their carrying value. In addition to the recoverability assessment, the Company routinely reviews the remaining estimated lives of its long-lived assets. Any reduction in the useful life assumption will result in increased depreciation and amortization expense in the period when such determination is made, as well as in subsequent periods. The Company evaluates the need to record impairment during each reporting period. As of December 31, 2023 and 2022, the Company determined that the estimated life of the intellectual property properly reflected the current remaining economic life of the asset.

Investment, Policy [Policy Text Block]

Investment in LINICO


Investments, which may be made from time to time for strategic reasons (and not to engage in the business of investments) are included in non-current assets in the consolidated balance sheets. Investments are recorded at cost and the Company analyzes the value of investments on a quarterly basis. The nature and timing of the Company’s investments will depend on available capital at any particular time and the investment opportunities identified and available to the Company. The Company accounted for the LINICO investment under ASC 321, Investments-Equity Securities, using the measurement alternative of recording at cost as the investment in LINICO doesn’t have a readily determinable fair value. As of December 31, 2023, the Company sold its investment in LINICO and recorded an impairment of $1,400,000 and a receivable of $600,000.

Lessee, Leases [Policy Text Block]



The Company determines if an arrangement is a lease at inception. Operating lease right-of-use assets (“ROU assets”) and short-term and long-term lease liabilities are included in the consolidated balance sheets. ROU assets represent the right to use an underlying asset for the lease term and lease liabilities represent the Company’s obligation to make lease payments arising from the lease. Operating and finance lease ROU assets and liabilities are recognized at commencement date based on the present value of lease payments over the lease term. As most of the Company’s leases do not provide an implicit rate, the Company uses an incremental borrowing rate based on the information available at the commencement date in determining the present value of lease payments. The Company’s lease terms may include options to extend or terminate the lease. Lease expense for lease payments is recognized on a straight-line basis over the lease term. For lease agreements with terms less than 12 months, the Company has elected the short-term lease measurement and recognition exemption, and the Company recognizes such lease payments on a straight-line basis over the lease term.

Revenue from Contract with Customer [Policy Text Block]

Revenue recognition


The Company records revenue in accordance with Accounting Standards Codification ("ASC") 606, Revenue from Contracts with Customers. ASC 606 provides a single comprehensive model for the recognition of revenue arising from contracts with customers and supersedes most current revenue recognition guidance, including industry-specific guidance. It requires an entity to recognize revenue when the entity transfers promised goods or services to customers in an amount that reflects the consideration to which the entity expects to be entitled in exchange for those goods or services. ASC 606 creates a five-step model that requires entities to exercise judgment when considering the terms of contract(s), which includes (1) identifying the contract(s) with the customer, (2) identifying the separate performance obligations in the contract, (3) determining the transaction price, (4) allocating the transaction price to the separate performance obligations, and (5) recognizing revenue as each performance obligation is satisfied. ASC 606 requires additional disclosure about the nature, amount, timing and uncertainty of revenue and cash flows arising from customer contracts, including qualitative and quantitative information about contracts with customers, significant judgments and changes in judgments and assets recognized from costs incurred to obtain or fulfill a contract.


Revenue is generally recognized with the delivery of the Company’s products to customers. Sales, value add, and other taxes, if any, that are collected concurrent with revenue-producing activities are excluded from revenue as they are subsequently remitted to governmental authorities. Incidental items that are immaterial in the context of the contract are recognized as expense. Freight and shipping costs related to the transfer of the Company’s products to customers are included in revenue and cost of product sales. Payment on invoices is generally due within 30 days of the invoice.


Arrangements with Multiple Performance Obligations


Contracts with customers may include multiple performance obligations. A performance obligation is a promise in a contract to transfer a distinct good or service to the customer and is the unit of account in ASC 606. A contract’s transaction price is allocated to each distinct performance obligation and recognized as revenue when, or as, the performance obligation is satisfied. The Company expects that many of our contracts will have a single performance obligation as the promise to transfer the individual goods or services will not be separately identifiable from other promises in the contracts and therefore, not distinct. For contracts with multiple performance obligations, revenue will be allocated to each performance obligation based on the Company’s best estimate of the standalone selling price of each distinct good or service in the contract. The primary method used to estimate standalone selling prices is based on prices charged separately to customers or expected cost-plus margin. At present, the Company does not have any arrangements with multiple performance obligations.


Significant Judgments


The Company estimates variable consideration at the most likely amount to which it expects to be entitled and includes estimated amounts in revenue to the extent it is probable that a significant reversal of revenue recognized will not occur when the uncertainty associated with the variable consideration is resolved. Adjustments to revenue is recognized in the period when the uncertainty is resolved. To date, any adjustments to estimates have not been material.


Practical Expedients and Exemptions


The Company does not disclose the value of unsatisfied performance obligations for (i) contracts with an original expected length of one year or less and (ii) contracts for which we recognize revenue at the amount to which we have the right to invoice for services performed.

Research and Development Expense, Policy [Policy Text Block]

Research and development


The Company conducts research and development activities, primarily focusing on refining recycling processes to increase yield and purity of recovered materials. This entails experimenting with different techniques, equipment, and operational parameters to enhance efficiency. All research and development expenditures are expensed as incurred.

Income Tax, Policy [Policy Text Block]

Income taxes


The Company accounts for income taxes in accordance with the asset and liability method of accounting for income taxes. Under the asset and liability method, deferred assets and liabilities are recognized based upon anticipated future tax consequences attributable to differences between financial statement carrying amounts of assets and liabilities and their respective tax bases. The provision for income taxes is comprised of the current tax liability and the changes in deferred tax assets and liabilities. The Company establishes a valuation allowance to the extent that it is more-likely-than-not that deferred tax assets will not be recoverable against future taxable income.


The Company recognizes the effect of uncertain income tax positions only if those positions are more-likely-than-not of being sustained. Recognized income tax positions are measured at the largest amount that is greater than 50% likely of being realized. Changes in recognition or measurement are reflected in the period in which the change in judgment occurs.

Fair Value Measurement, Policy [Policy Text Block]

Fair value measurements


The carrying amounts of cash and cash equivalents, accounts receivable, inventory, prepaid expenses and other current assets, accounts payable, and accrued expenses approximate fair value due to the short-term nature of these instruments. The carrying value of short and long-term debt, and lease liabilities also approximates fair value since these instruments bear market rates of interest or are calculated using market rates of interest. None of these instruments are held for trading purposes.


Fair value is defined as an exit price, representing the amount that would be received upon the sale of an asset or payment to transfer a liability in an orderly transaction between market participants. Fair value is a market-based measurement that is determined based on assumptions that market participants would use in pricing an asset or liability. A three-tier fair value hierarchy is used to prioritize the inputs in measuring fair value as follows:


Level 1. Quoted prices in active markets for identical assets or liabilities.


Level 2. Quoted prices for similar assets and liabilities in active markets, quoted prices for identical or similar assets or liabilities in markets that are not active, or other inputs that are observable, either directly or indirectly.


Level 3. Significant unobservable inputs that cannot be corroborated by market data.


The asset or liability’s fair value measurement within the fair value hierarchy is based upon the lowest level of any input that is significant to the fair value measurement.


There are no assets or liabilities that are measured at fair value on a recurring basis at December 31, 2023 or December 31, 2022.

Share-Based Payment Arrangement [Policy Text Block]

Stock-based compensation


The Company recognizes compensation expense for stock-based compensation in accordance with ASC 718 “Compensation – Stock Compensation.” The fair value of restricted stock units ("RSUs") is measured on the grant date based on the closing fair market value of our common stock. The resulting cost is recognized over the period during which an employee is required to provide service in exchange for the awards, usually the vesting period, which is generally three years for RSUs. Stock-based compensation expense is recognized on a straight-line basis, net of actual forfeitures in the period.


The fair value of RSU grants with performance conditions is determined using the closing price of our common stock on date of grant. The calculated compensation cost is adjusted based on an estimate of awards ultimately expected to vest and our assessment of the probable outcome of the performance condition. The fair value of RSU grants with market conditions is calculated on the date of grant using a Monte Carlo simulation model utilizing several key assumptions, including expected share price volatility, the risk-free rate of return, the expected dividend yield and other award design features.

Earnings Per Share, Policy [Policy Text Block]

Net loss per share


Basic net loss per share is computed by dividing net loss by the weighted average number of vested shares outstanding during the period. Diluted net loss per share is computed by giving effect to all potential dilutive common securities, options and warrants. Potential dilutive common shares include the dilutive effect of the common stock underlying in-the-money stock options and is calculated based on the average share price for each period using the treasury stock method. Under the treasury stock method, the exercise price of an option and the average amount of compensation cost, if any, for future services that the Company has not yet recognized when the option is exercised, are assumed to be used to repurchase shares in the current period.


For all periods presented in this report, unvested restricted stock, stock options and warrants were not included in the computation of diluted net loss per share because such inclusion would have had an antidilutive effect.



Year Ended December 31,


Excluded potentially dilutive weighted average securities (1):






Options to purchase common stock

    390,684       1,013,962  

Unvested restricted stock

    7,471,648       7,403,644  

Financing warrants to purchase common stock

    252,035       6,372  

Total potential dilutive weighted average securities

    8,114,367       8,423,978  


(1) Securities are presented on a weighted average outstanding calculation as required if the securities were dilutive.

Segment Reporting, Policy [Policy Text Block]

Segment and geographic information


Our chief operating decision maker (“CODM”) is the Chief Executive Officer. Operating segments are defined as components of an enterprise engaging in business activities for which discrete financial information is available and regularly reviewed by the CODM in deciding how to allocate resources and in assessing performance. The CODM views its operations and manages its business in one operating segment.

Concentration Risk, Credit Risk, Policy [Policy Text Block]

Concentration of credit risk


The Company generated revenue of $25,000 and $4,000 for the years ended  December 31, 2023 and 2022, respectively, for the sale of lead finished goods to P. Kay Metals. Revenue from P. Kay Metals represented 100% of total revenue for the years ended December 31, 2023 and 2022. The Company did not have a trade receivable balance as of  December 31, 2023 and  December 31, 2022, respectively.

New Accounting Pronouncements, Policy [Policy Text Block]

Recent accounting pronouncements


Recently issued accounting pronouncements not yet adopted


In November 2023, the Financial Accounting Standards Board (“FASB”) issued ASU No. 2023-07, Improvements to Reportable Segment Disclosures (Topic 280). This ASU updates reportable segment disclosure requirements by requiring disclosures of significant reportable segment expenses that are regularly provided to the Chief Operating Decision Maker (“CODM”) and included within each reported measure of a segment's profit or loss. This ASU also requires disclosure of the title and position of the individual identified as the CODM and an explanation of how the CODM uses the reported measures of a segment’s profit or loss in assessing segment performance and deciding how to allocate resources. The ASU is effective for annual periods beginning after December 15, 2023, and interim periods within fiscal years beginning after December 15, 2024. Adoption of the ASU should be applied retrospectively to all prior periods presented in the financial statements. Early adoption is also permitted. This ASU will likely result in us including the additional required disclosures when adopted. We are currently evaluating the provisions of this ASU and expect to adopt them for the year ending December 31, 2024.


In December 2023, the FASB issued ASU No. 2023-09, Improvements to Income Tax Disclosures (Topic 740). The ASU requires disaggregated information about a reporting entity’s effective tax rate reconciliation as well as additional information on income taxes paid. The ASU is effective on a prospective basis for annual periods beginning after December 15, 2024. Early adoption is also permitted for annual financial statements that have not yet been issued or made available for issuance. This ASU will result in the required additional disclosures being included in our consolidated financial statements, once adopted.


Recently adopted accounting pronouncements


On January 1, 2023, the Company adopted ASU 2016-13 Financial Instruments - Credit Losses (Topic 326): Measurement of Credit Losses on Financial Instruments, which replaces the incurred loss methodology with an expected loss methodology that is referred to as the current expected credit loss (“CECL”) methodology. The measurement of expected credit losses under the CECL methodology is applicable to financial assets measured at amortized cost. It also applies to Off-Balance Sheet (“OBS”) credit exposures not accounted for as insurance (loan commitments, standby letters of credit, financial guarantees, and other similar instruments) and net investments and leases recognized by a lessor in accordance with Topic 842 on leases. The Company adopted ASC 326 using the modified retrospective method. Results for reporting periods beginning after January 1, 2023 are presented under ASC 326 while prior period amounts continue to be reported in accordance with previously applicable GAAP. As of its adoption date of January 1, 2023, the Company did not record a transition adjustment related to the adoption of ASC 326. The adoption of this standard did not have a material impact on the Company’s financials as of December 31, 2023.


In  August 2020, the FASB issued ASU 2020-06, Debt - Debt with Conversion and Other Options (Subtopic 470-20) and Derivatives and Hedging - Contracts in Entity's Own Equity (Subtopic 815-40): Accounting for Convertible Instruments and Contracts in an Entity's Own Equity, which is intended to simplify the accounting for certain financial instruments with characteristics of liabilities and equity, including convertible instruments and contracts on an entity's own equity. The guidance allows for either full retrospective adoption or modified retrospective adoption. The guidance is effective for the Company in the first quarter of fiscal year 2024 and early adoption is permitted. The Company elected early adoption of ASU 2020-06 in the first quarter of its fiscal year 2023 on a modified retrospective basis. There was no material impact to the financial statements as a result of the adoption.