Annual report pursuant to Section 13 and 15(d)

Summary of Significant Accounting Policies

Summary of Significant Accounting Policies
12 Months Ended
Dec. 31, 2017
Accounting Policies [Abstract]  
Summary of Significant Accounting Policies

2.         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. 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”).


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 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.


Restricted cash


Restricted cash was 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, Nevada. As of December 31, 2017, the building was complete and the funds had been dispersed.


Accounts receivable


The Company sells 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, 2017, the Company believes that all receivables will be collected and, therefore, has not created any reserve for doubtful accounts.




Inventory is stated as 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.


Intangible and other long-lived assets


Intangible assets consist of a patent application contributed to the Company by five founding stockholders, patent applications for technology developed by the Company, trademark applications and a patent portfolio acquired during 2017. The useful life of the intangible assets 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 further described in Note 6, the Company recorded an impairment of $2.4 million on the acquisition of the 2017 acquired patent portfolio. 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 records 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 are capitalized as part of the related asset’s carrying value and are depreciated on a straight-line basis over the assets’ respective useful lives.


Revenue Recognition


The Company records revenue recognition in accordance with 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.


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 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, 2017 or 2016.


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):   2017     2016     2015  
Convertible note - principal     702,247       702,247        
Consulting warrants to purchase common stock           486,364       478,864  
Options to purchase common stock     578,813       915,572       752,324  
Unvested restricted stock     180,951              
Financing warrants to purchase common stock     2,340,828       3,316,208       975,380  
Total potential dilutive securities     3,802,839       5,420,391       2,206,568  


  (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


Substantially all of our revenue and accounts receivable as of and for the year ended December 31, 2017 is attributable to Johnson Controls Battery Group, Inc. Substantially all of the chemicals used in our refining process are provided by one supplier and supply of used lead acid batteries has, during 2017, been provided by two vendors supplying 56% and 44%, respectively.


Recent accounting pronouncements


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 November 2016, the FASB issued ASU No. 2016-18, Restricted Cash, or ASU 2016-18. The amendments in ASU 2016-18 require an entity to reconcile and explain the period-over-period change in total cash, cash equivalents and restricted cash within its statements of cash flows. ASU 2016-18 is effective for fiscal years, and interim periods within, beginning after December 15, 2017. Early adoption is permitted. A reporting entity must apply the amendments in ASU 2016-18 using a full retrospective approach. The Company is currently evaluating the impact the adoption of the ASU will have on its consolidated financial statements.


There were no other recent accounting pronouncements or changes in accounting pronouncements during the year ended December 31, 2017 that are of significance or potential significance to the Company.