Interstate Batteries and Aqua Metals Form Strategic Partnership

Interstate Invests in Aqua Metals, Has Agreed to Provide Millions of Pounds Of Used Batteries to Recycle at World’s First AquaRefinery

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| Source: Aqua Metals; Interstate Batteries

ALAMEDA, Calif., May 19, 2016 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Aqua Metals, Inc. (NASDAQ:AQMS) (Aqua Metals), which is commercializing a non-polluting electrochemical lead recycling technology called AquaRefining™, today announced the signing of definitive agreements with Interstate Batteries. Interstate Batteries is the No. 1 replacement battery brand, the largest independent battery distribution system in North America and the country’s 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.

All of these agreements are expected to close on or before May 23, 2016, subject to customary closing conditions. Additional details of all of the agreements are included in the Aqua Metals’ recently filed Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q.

About Interstate Batteries
Interstate’s starting, lighting, ignition (SLI) batteries have been under millions of car hoods since 1952, each one backed by Outrageously Dependable® service, quality and value. Interstate PowerCare offers premier products, technical expertise and reliable service for critical and motive power needs, and Interstate All Battery Centers meet the growing demand for portable power in both retail and commercial markets. Today, Interstate sells more than 17 million batteries in North, Central and South America and China – and they recycle more than they sell. With a nationwide network of more than 200,000 dealers returning battery cores, they’ve turned batteries into one of America's greatest recycling successes. For more information, please visit www.interstatebatteries.com.

About Aqua Metals
Aqua Metals (NASDAQ:AQMS) is reinventing lead recycling with its patent-pending  AquaRefiningTM technology. Unlike smelting, AquaRefining is a room temperature, water-based process that is fundamentally non-polluting. These modular systems are expected to  allow the lead-acid battery industry to simultaneously improve environmental impact and scale production to meet rapidly growing demand. Aqua Metals is based in Alameda, California, and is building its first recycling facility in Nevada’s Tahoe Reno Industrial Complex. To learn more, please visit www.aquametals.com.

Safe Harbor
This press release contains forward-looking statements concerning Aqua Metals, Inc., the lead-acid battery recycling industry, the intended benefits of its agreements with Interstate Batteries, the future of lead-acid battery recycling via traditional smelters, the Company’s development of its commercial lead-acid battery recycling facilities and the quality, efficiency and profitability of Aqua Metals’ proposed lead-acid battery recycling operations. Those forward-looking statements involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors that could cause actual results to differ materially. Among those factors are: (1) the fact that Company has not yet commenced revenue producing operations or developed its initial commercial recycling facility, thus subjecting the Company to all of the risks inherent in a pre-revenue start-up; (2) the uncertainties involved in any new commercial relationship and the risk that Aqua Metals will not receive the intended benefits of its agreements with Interstate Batteries; (3) risks related to Aqua Metals’ ability to raise sufficient capital, as and when needed, to develop and operate its recycling facilities; (4) changes in the federal, state and foreign laws regulating the recycling of lead-acid batteries; (5) the Company’s ability to protect its proprietary technology, trade secrets and know-how and (6) those other risks disclosed in the section “Risk Factors” included in the Annual Report on Form 10-K  filed with the SEC on March 28, 2016. Aqua Metals cautions readers not to place undue reliance on any forward-looking statements. The Company does not undertake, and specifically disclaims any obligation, to update or revise such statements to reflect new circumstances or unanticipated events as they occur.         

Aqua Metals Media Relations:
Antenna
Sharon Golubchik
Director
609-418-0058
aquametals@antennagroup.com

Aqua Metals Investor Relations:
MZ North America
Greg Falesnik
Senior Vice President
Main: 949-385-6449
greg.falesnik@mzgroup.us 
www.mzgroup.us

Interstate Batteries Media Relations:
Jackson Spalding
Patrick Hill
404-724-2506  
phill@jacksonspalding.com 	

John Tucker
917-576-2813
jtucker@jacksonspalding.com