Aqua Metals, which is commercializing a non-polluting electrochemical lead recycling technology called AquaRefining, announced the signing of definitive agreements with Interstate Batteries. Interstate Batteries is a leading replacement battery brand, the largest independent battery distribution system in North America, and a leading battery recycler.
Upon the closing of these agreements, Interstate Batteries has agreed to supply more than a million automotive and other lead-acid batteries as feedstock for Aqua Metals’ AquaRefineries. This partnership will start with Aqua Metals’ first AquaRefinery, which will be located in Nevada’s Tahoe-Reno Industrial Complex (TRIC) and is set to open in July 2016. Interstate Batteries will also make a strategic investment of approximately $10 million into Aqua Metals.
With a nationwide network of more than 200,000 dealers returning battery cores, Interstate Batteries recycled more than 24.9 million automotive batteries in 2015, which is more than it sells. In the automotive industry alone, Interstate Batteries sells more than 17 million automotive batteries annually in addition to powering everything including marine and heavy equipment, golf carts, lawn and garden care equipment, data center cloud infrastructure and security systems.
“Interstate Batteries seeks out innovation, pursues opportunities and invests in the technology we need to succeed not just today, but also tomorrow,” said Scott Miller, president and CEO of Interstate Batteries. “Our focus is on the future of our industry and continued growth. Aqua Metals’ breakthrough technology is a promising new way for recycling lead-acid batteries.”
Aqua Metals’ patent-pending AquaRefining process is an environmentally friendly electrochemical process for recycling lead-acid batteries. AquaRefining is a closed-loop, room temperature, water-based recycling method that is fundamentally non-polluting, yet able to yield nearly 100 percent lead recovery.
“With its forward-thinking environmental goals, broad distribution network and strong brand name, Interstate Batteries is an ideal partner for us as we scale our business,” said Dr. Stephen Clarke, chairman and CEO of Aqua Metals. “As we grow, we are able to create a more sustainable ecosystem for lead as a power source. We look forward to growing our partnership with Interstate Batteries.”
Interstate Batteries’ $10 million strategic investment into Aqua Metals will be in the form of common stock, a fixed-price note that converts into common stock, and two cash warrants to purchase common stock over the next three years.
Concurrent with all of these agreements with Interstate Batteries, Aqua Metals signed definitive agreements with various institutional and individual accredited investors to raise additional gross proceeds of approximately $5.1 million in a private placement of common stock. National Securities Corporation, a wholly owned subsidiary of National Holdings, Inc. (NASDAQ: NHLD), acted as sole placement agent for the additional $5.1 million investment. The Liquid Venture Partners group at National Securities Corporation was primarily responsible for the sourcing and execution of that portion of the investment.