Annual report pursuant to Section 13 and 15(d)

Note 2 - Summary of Significant Accounting Policies

Note 2 - Summary of Significant Accounting Policies
12 Months Ended
Dec. 31, 2020
Notes to Financial Statements  
Significant Accounting Policies [Text Block]


Summary of Significant Accounting Policies


Basis of presentation and consolidation


The accompanying consolidated financial statements include those of Aqua Metals, Inc. and its subsidiaries, 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


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 fair value of estimated asset retirement obligations, 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


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


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, 2020, the Company did not have a trade accounts receivable balance and, therefore, has not created any reserve for doubtful accounts. The accounts receivable balance as of December 31, 2020 was related to the return of product to a vendor.




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 and equipment


Property and equipment are stated at cost net of accumulated depreciation. Depreciation on property 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 and equipment assets for indications that the carrying amount of an asset may not be recoverable. At December 31, 2020, management reviewed the remaining estimated lives of our 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. We evaluate the need to record impairment during each reporting period. We determined that the remaining useful lives of the equipment has decreased due to our focus on a capital light strategy. We recognized a $11.7 million impairment during the period. The impairment expense included a write-down of $7.7 million to equipment under construction that was not yet capitalized. In addition, certain other equipment was written down by $4.0 million to fair values, resulting in the acceleration to depreciation for identified assets. 


Intangible and other long-lived assets


Intangible assets consist 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, 2020, the Company determined that the estimated life of the intellectual property properly reflected the current remaining economic life of the asset.


Asset retirement obligations


The Company has recorded the fair value of estimated asset retirement obligations associated with tangible long-lived assets in the period incurred. Retirement obligations associated with long-lived assets are those for which there is an obligation for closures and/or site remediation at the end of the assets’ useful lives. These obligations are initially estimated based on discounted cash flow estimates and are accreted to full value over time through charges to operating expense. In addition, asset retirement costs have been capitalized as part of the related asset’s carrying value and are depreciated on a straight-line basis over the assets’ respective useful lives. Due to the change in the primary use of the Company's McCarran, Nevada facility, the Written Determination issued to the Company requiring the Facility Closure Trust deposit was terminated by the NDEP on December 9, 2020. As a result of this termination, the Trust account was closed and the Trustee reimbursed the Company the entire balance of the Trust account. As a result of the elimination of the Trust obligation and the refund of the balance, the original amount of the estimated closure cost that was capitalized and the accumulated accretion was written off.


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, primarily hard lead, lead compounds and plastics, 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 for arrangements where the transaction price is not fully determinable until the completion of yield testing. 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.


Insurance Proceeds


On November 29, 2019, there was a fire in the Aqua Refining area of the TRIC facility. The Company recorded an insurance proceeds receivable balance of $19.9 during the fourth quarter of 2019, which was limited by GAAP accounting standards to the net book value of assets written off as a result of the fire. The insurance proceeds receivable balance has been reduced to zero as insurance payments have exceeded the total established insurance proceeds receivable amount. Any amounts received in excess of that total are reported as other income. As of December 31, 2020, the Company has received $23.4 million in insurance payments as a result of the fire damage. Subsequent to year end, the Company received an additional $0.1 million of insurance proceeds. The Company has also determined that it is probable to receive additional insurance payments.   


Research and development


Research and development expenditures are expensed as incurred.


Income taxes


The Company accounts for income taxes in accordance with the liability method of accounting for income taxes. Under the 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 measurements


The carrying amounts of cash and cash equivalents, accounts receivable, inventory, prepaid expenses and other current assets, accounts payable, accrued expenses, and deferred rent 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, 2020 or December 31, 2019.


Stock-based compensation


The Company recognizes compensation expense for stock-based compensation in accordance with ASC 718 “Compensation – Stock Compensation.” For employee stock-based awards, the Company calculates the fair value of the award on the date of grant using the Black-Scholes-Merton method for stock options; the expense is recognized over the service period for awards to vest.


The estimation of stock-based awards that will ultimately vest requires judgment and to the extent actual results or updated estimates differ from the original estimates, such amounts are recorded as a cumulative adjustment in the period estimates are revised.


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, including convertible notes, 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, convertible notes, 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 securities (1):






Options to purchase common stock

    1,387,673       3,463,692  

Unvested restricted stock

    5,624,166       259,792  

Financing warrants to purchase common stock

    103,500       4,805,747  

Total potential dilutive securities

    7,115,339       8,529,231  


(1) The number of shares is based on the maximum number of shares issuable on exercise or conversion of the related securities as of the period end. Such amounts have not been adjusted for the treasury stock method or weighted average outstanding calculations as required if the securities were dilutive.


Segment and Geographic Information


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 chief operating decision maker in deciding how to allocate resources and in assessing performance. The Company views its operations and manages its business in one operating segment, and the Company operates in only one geographic segment.


Concentration of Credit Risk


Revenues from the following customers each represented at least 10% of total revenue for the years ended December 31, 2020 and December 31, 2019. The Company did not have an accounts receivable (trade) balance as of  December 31, 2020. Clarios represented all of our accounts receivable (trade) balance as of  December 31, 2019



Accounts Receivable (Trade)




As of December 31,










Clarios (successor of Johnson Controls Battery Group, Inc.)

    16 %     69 %     %     100 %

P. Kay Metals

    84 %     28 %     %     %


Substantially all of the chemicals used in our refining process has been provided by one supplier. Historically, the supply of used lead acid batteries has been provided by two vendors. The Company did not purchase any used lead acid batteries during the year ended  December 31, 2020. The table below indicates the percentage of used batteries provide by our two primary suppliers during the years ended  December 31, 2020 and December 31, 2019.







Supplier A

    %     69 %

Supplier B

    %     30 %


Recent accounting pronouncements


There were no recent accounting pronouncements or changes in accounting pronouncements during the year ended December 31, 2020 that are of significance or potential significance to the Company.