Summary of Significant Accounting Policies (Policies)
|12 Months Ended
Dec. 31, 2016
|Accounting Policies [Abstract]
|Basis of presentation
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. We have 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”). Certain reclassifications have been made to the December 31, 2015 balance sheet to conform to current period presentation. Specifically, equipment deposits at December 31, 2015 of $3.8 million have been reclassified to property and equipment with the remaining balance reclassified to other assets.
|Use of estimates
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, the valuation of conversion features of convertible debt, 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
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.
Restricted cash is comprised of funds held in escrow at Green Bank for the purpose of paying for the construction of the lead recycling plant building in McCarran, NV. As of December 31, 2016, the building is substantially complete. At December 31, 2016, $0.6 million of the outstanding accounts payable balance and $0.4 million of the outstanding accrual liability balance is to be paid out of the escrowed funds.
Inventory is stated as the lower of cost or market. Cost is determined using the weighted average method. Market value is determined as the lower of replacement cost or net realizable value. At December 31, 2016, inventory consisted of raw materials, primarily chemicals, to be used in the lead recycling process.
|Property and equipment
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.
|Intangible and other long-lived assets
Intangible and other long-lived assets
The intangible assets consist of a patent application contributed to the Company by five founding stockholders, patent applications for technology developed by the Company and trademark applications. The useful life of the intangible assets has been determined to be ten years and the assets are being amortized. 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. No impairment has been recorded. The Company determined that the estimated life of the intellectual property properly reflected the current remaining economic life of the asset.
|Research and development
Research and development
Research and development expenditures are expensed as incurred.
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
Fair value measurements
The carrying amounts of cash and cash equivalents, 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 also approximates fair value since these instruments bear 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 far 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, 2016 or December 31, 2015.
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. The Company considers many factors when estimating expected forfeitures, including types of awards, employee class and historical experience.
|Net loss per common share
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 as 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.
|Segment and Geographic Information
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.
|Recent accounting pronouncements
Recent accounting pronouncements
In January 2016, the FASB issued ASU No. 2016-01, Financial Instruments - Overall: Recognition and Measurement of Financial Assets and Financial Liabilities. The updated guidance enhances the reporting model for financial instruments, which includes amendments to address aspects of recognition, measurement, presentation and disclosure. The amendment to the standard is effective for the Company beginning on June 1, 2018. While the Company is currently assessing the impact of the new standard, it does not expect this new guidance to have a material impact on its consolidated financial statements.
In February 2016, the FASB issued ASU 2016-02 - Leases (ASC 842), which sets out the principles for the recognition, measurement, presentation and disclosure of leases for both parties to a contract (i.e. lessees and lessors). The new standard requires lessees to apply a dual approach, classifying leases as either finance or operating leases based on the principle of whether or not the lease is effectively a financed purchase by the lessee. This classification will determine whether lease expense is recognized based on an effective interest method or on a straight-line basis over the term of the lease, respectively. A lessee is also required to record a right-of-use asset and a lease liability for all leases with a term of greater than 12 months regardless of their classification. Leases with a term of 12 months or less will be accounted for similar to existing guidance for operating leases today. ASC 842 supersedes the previous leases standard, ASC 840 Leases. The standard is effective on January 1, 2019, with early adoption permitted. The Company is in the process of evaluating the impact of this new guidance.
In March 2016, the FASB issued ASU 2016-09, Compensation—Stock Compensation (Topic 718): Improvements to Employee Share-Based Payment Accounting. The ASU includes multiple provisions intended to simplify various aspects of the accounting for share-based payments. While aimed at reducing the cost and complexity of the accounting for share-based payments, the amendments can significantly impact net income, EPS, and the statement of cash flows. For public companies, the amendments in this ASU are effective for annual periods beginning after December 15, 2016, and interim periods within those annual periods. Early adoption is permitted. The Company is in the process of evaluating the impact of this ASU on its financial statements but does not believe the impact will be material.
There were no other recent accounting pronouncements or changes in accounting pronouncements during the year ended December 31, 2016 that are of significance or potential significance to the Company.