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
Summary of Significant Accounting Policies [Abstract]  
Summary of Significant Accounting Policies

Note 2—Summary of Significant Accounting Policies


Basis of Presentation


The accompanying consolidated financial statements include our accounts and our wholly-owned subsidiary, Ener-Core Power, Inc. All significant intercompany transactions and accounts have been eliminated in consolidation. All monetary amounts are rounded to the nearest $000, except certain per share amounts.


The accompanying consolidated financial statements have been prepared in accordance with GAAP.




Certain amounts in the 2016 consolidated financial statements have been reclassified to conform to the current year presentation. These reclassifications have no effect on previously reported net loss.




We operate in one segment. All of our operations are located domestically.

Use of Estimates


The preparation of financial statements in conformity with GAAP requires management to make estimates and assumptions that affect the reported amounts of assets and liabilities and disclosure of contingent assets and liabilities at the date of the financial statements and the reported amounts of expenses during the reporting period. Significant items subject to such estimates and assumptions include but are not limited to: collectability of receivables; the valuation of certain assets, useful lives, and carrying amounts of property and equipment, equity instruments and share-based compensation; provision for contract losses; valuation allowances for deferred income tax assets; valuation of derivative liabilities; and exposure to warranty and other contingent liabilities. We base our estimates on historical experience and on various other assumptions that are believed to be reasonable under the circumstances, the results of which form the basis for making judgments about the carrying values of assets and liabilities that are not readily apparent from other sources. Actual results may differ from these estimates.


Concentrations of Credit Risk


Cash and Cash Equivalents


We maintain our non-interest bearing transactional cash accounts at financial institutions for which the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (“FDIC”) provides insurance coverage of up to $250,000. For interest bearing cash accounts, from time to time, balances exceed the amount insured by the FDIC. We have not experienced any losses in such accounts and believe we are not exposed to any significant credit risk related to these deposits. At December 31, 2017, we had no cash in excess of the FDIC limit.


We consider all highly liquid investments available for current use with an initial maturity of three months or less and are not restricted to be cash equivalents. We invest our cash in short-term money market accounts.


Restricted Cash


Collateral Account


Under a credit card processing agreement with a financial institution that was entered in 2013, we were required to maintain funds on deposit with the financial institution as collateral. The amount of the deposit, which is at the discretion of the financial institution, was $50,000 on December 31, 2016 and $0 on December 31, 2017.


Accounts Receivable


Our accounts receivable are typically from credit worthy customers or, for international customers are supported by guarantees or letters of credit. For those customers to whom we extend credit, we perform periodic evaluations of them and maintain allowances for potential credit losses as deemed necessary. We generally do not require collateral to secure accounts receivable. We have a policy of reserving for uncollectible accounts based on our best estimate of the amount of probable credit losses in existing accounts receivable. We periodically review our accounts receivable to determine whether an allowance is necessary based on an analysis of past due accounts and other factors that may indicate that the realization of an account may be in doubt. Account balances deemed to be uncollectible are charged to the allowance after all means of collection have been exhausted and the potential for recovery is considered remote. As of December 31, 2017 and December 31, 2016, two customers accounted for approximately 100% of our net accounts receivable.


Accounts Payable


As of December 31, 2017 and 2016, five and eight vendors accounted for approximately 53% and 50% of our total accounts payable, respectively.




Inventory, which consists of raw materials and work-in-progress, is stated at the lower of cost or net realizable value, with cost being determined by the average-cost method, which approximates the first-in, first-out method. At each balance sheet date, we evaluate our ending inventory for excess quantities and obsolescence. This evaluation primarily includes an analysis of forecasted demand in relation to the inventory on hand, among consideration of other factors. Based upon the evaluation, provisions are made to reduce excess or obsolete inventories to their estimated net realizable values. Once established, write-downs are considered permanent adjustments to the cost basis of the respective inventories. At December 31, 2017 and 2016, we did not have a reserve for slow-moving or obsolete inventory.


Property and Equipment


Property and equipment are stated at cost and are being depreciated using the straight-line method over the estimated useful lives of the related assets, ranging from three to ten years. Maintenance and repairs that do not improve or extend the lives of the respective assets are expensed. At the time property and equipment are retired or otherwise disposed of, the cost and related accumulated depreciation accounts are relieved of the applicable amounts. Gains or losses from retirements or sales are reflected in the consolidated statements of operations.




Deposits primarily consist of amounts incurred or paid in advance of the receipt of fixed assets or are deposits for rent and insurance.


Accrued Warranties


Accrued warranties represent the estimated costs that will be incurred during the warranty period of our products. We make an estimate of expected costs that will be incurred by us during the warranty period and charge that expense to the consolidated statement of operations at the date of sale. We also reevaluate the estimate at each balance sheet date and if the estimate is changed, the effect is reflected in the consolidated statement of operations. We had no warranty accrual at December 31, 2017 or December 31, 2016. We expect that most terms for future warranties of our Powerstations and Power Oxidizers will be one to two years depending on the warranties provided and the products sold. Accrued warranties for expected expenditures within one year are classified as current liabilities and as non-current liabilities for expected expenditures for time periods beyond one year. 


Deferred Rent


We record deferred rent expense, which represents the temporary differences between the reporting of rental expense on the financial statements and the actual amounts remitted to the landlord. The deferred rent portion of lease agreements are leasing inducements provided by the landlord. Also, tenant improvement allowances provided are recorded as a deferred rent liability and recognized ratably as a reduction to rent expense over the lease term.


Intangible Assets


Our intangible assets represent intellectual property acquired during the reverse merger. We amortize our intangible assets with finite lives over their estimated useful lives.


Impairment of Long-Lived Assets 


We account for our long-lived assets in accordance with the accounting standards which require that long-lived assets be reviewed for impairment whenever events or changes in circumstances indicate that the historical carrying value of an asset may no longer be recoverable. We consider the carrying value of assets may not be recoverable based upon our review of the following events or changes in circumstances: the asset’s ability to continue to generate income from operations and positive cash flow in future periods; loss of legal ownership or title to the assets; significant changes in our strategic business objectives and utilization of the asset; or significant negative industry or economic trends. An impairment loss would be recognized when estimated future cash flows expected to result from the use of the asset are less than its carrying amount. As of December 31, 2017 and December 31, 2016, we do not believe there have been any impairments of our long-lived assets. There can be no assurance, however, that market conditions will not change or demand for our products will continue, which could result in impairment of long-lived assets in the future.


Fair Value of Financial Instruments


Our financial instruments consist primarily of cash and cash equivalents, restricted cash, accounts receivable, accounts payable, derivative liabilities, and capital lease liabilities. Fair value estimates discussed herein are based upon certain market assumptions and pertinent information available to management as of December 31, 2017 and December 31, 2016. The carrying amounts of short-term financial instruments are reasonable estimates of their fair values due to their short-term nature or proximity to market rates for similar items.


We determine the fair value of our financial instruments based on a three-level hierarchy established for fair value measurements under which these assets and liabilities must be grouped, based on significant levels of observable or unobservable inputs. Observable inputs reflect market data obtained from independent sources, while unobservable inputs reflect management’s market assumptions. This hierarchy requires the use of observable market data when available. These two types of inputs have created the following fair-value hierarchy:


  Level 1: Valuations based on unadjusted quoted prices in active markets that are accessible at the measurement date for identical, unrestricted assets or liabilities. Currently, we classify our cash and cash equivalents as Level 1 financial instruments.
  Level 2: Valuations based on observable inputs (other than Level 1 prices), such as quoted prices for similar assets at the measurement date quoted prices in markets that are not active, or inputs which are observable, either directly or indirectly, for substantially the full term of the asset or liability. We do not currently have any accounts under Level 2.   
  Level 3: Valuations based on inputs that require inputs that are both significant to the fair value measurement and unobservable and involve management judgment (i.e., supported by little or no market activity). We classify our warrants and conversion options accounted for as derivative liabilities as Level 3 financial instruments.


If the inputs used to measure fair value fall in different levels of the fair value hierarchy, a financial security’s hierarchy level is based upon the lowest level of input that is significant to the fair value measurement.


Derivative Financial Instruments


The Company issues derivative financial instruments in conjunction with its debt and equity offerings and to provide additional incentive to investors and placement agents. The Company uses derivative financial instruments in order to obtain the lowest cash cost-source of funds. Derivative liabilities are recognized in the consolidated balance sheets at fair value based on the criteria specified in Financial Accounting Standards Board (“FASB”) Accounting Standards Codification (“ASC”) topic 815-40 “Derivatives and Hedging—Contracts in Entity’s own Equity.” The estimated fair value of the derivative liabilities is calculated using either the Black-Scholes-Merton or Monte Carlo simulation model method. 


The Company issued warrants to purchase common stock and secured debt with a conversion feature in April and May 2015, September 2016 and December 2016. In December 2015, we amended the secured debt issued in April and May 2015 (the “2015 Senior Notes”) to add a conversion feature. The Company issued additional warrants to purchase common stock with price reset provisions in December 2015, February 2016 and March 2016. These embedded derivatives and warrants were evaluated under ASC topic 815-40. We determined that the conversion feature for the 2015 secured debt, the conversion feature for the September 2016 secured debt and the warrants issued with price reset provisions should be accounted for as derivative liabilities. In August 2016, all outstanding warrants that we previously determined should be accounted for as derivative liabilities were amended and we determined that, after giving effect to the amendments, we were no longer required to account for the warrants as derivative liabilities. In December 2016, we modified the terms of the September 2016 secured debt and determined that, after giving effect to the amendments, we were no longer required to account for the conversion features as derivative liabilities. We determined that the conversion features of the warrants issued in April and May 2015, September 2016 and December 2016 should not be accounted for as derivative liabilities. Warrants and the debt conversion features determined to be derivative liabilities were bifurcated from the debt host and were classified as liabilities on the consolidated balance sheet. Warrants not determined to be derivative liabilities were recorded to debt discount and paid-in capital. We record the warrants and embedded derivative liabilities at fair value and adjust the carrying value of the warrants to purchase common stock and embedded derivatives to their estimated fair value at each reporting date with the increases or decreases in the fair value of such warrants and derivatives at each reporting date, recorded as a gain or (loss) in the consolidated statements of operations. The warrants issued in 2015 that we no longer account for as derivative liabilities were recorded to debt discount with a corresponding entry to paid-in capital. The warrants that were amended in 2016 such that we were no longer required to account for them as derivative liabilities were marked to market immediately prior to the amendment and the fair value was reclassified on the amendment date from derivative liabilities to paid-in capital.


Revenue Recognition


We generate revenue from the licensing of our Power Oxidizer technologies and sale of our clean power energy systems and from consulting services. Revenue is recognized when there is persuasive evidence of an arrangement, product delivery and acceptance have occurred, the sales price is fixed or determinable and collectability of the resulting receivable is reasonably assured. Amounts billed to clients for shipping and handling are classified as sales of product with related costs incurred included in cost of sales.


Provisions for discounts and rebates to customers, estimated returns and allowances, and other adjustments are provided for in the same period the related revenue is recorded. We defer any revenue for which the services have not been performed or are subject to refund until such time that we and our customer jointly determine that the services have been performed or no refund will be required.


Revenues under long-term construction contracts are generally recognized using the completed-contract method of accounting. Long-term construction-type contracts for which reasonably dependable estimates cannot be made or for which inherent hazards make estimates difficult are accounted for under the completed-contract method. Revenues under the completed-contract method are recognized upon substantial completion—that is acceptance by the customer, compliance with performance specifications demonstrated in a factory acceptance test or a similar event. Accordingly, during the period of contract performance, billings and costs are accumulated on the balance sheet, but no profit or income is recorded before completion or substantial completion of the work. Anticipated losses on contracts are recognized in full in the period in which losses become probable and estimable. Changes in estimate of profit or loss on contracts are included in earnings on a cumulative basis in the period the estimate is changed. As of December 31, 2017 and December 31, 2016, we had provisions for contract losses in the amounts of $617,000 and $724,000, respectively.


Our deferred revenue balances as of December 31, 2017 consisted primary of billings and receipts of the Dresser-Rand licenses and the two Power Oxidizer units sold to Dresser-Rand and installed at a Pacific Ethanol location in Stockton, California. While delivery of the Power Oxidizer units has occurred, customer acceptance had not occurred as of December 31, 2017 and a contractual risk of loss still remained on the licensing collections. As such, we did not recognize revenues for the year ended December 31, 2017. 


Research and Development Costs


Research and development costs are expensed as incurred.  Research and development costs were $2,040,000 and $3,752,000 for the years ended December 31, 2017 and 2016, respectively.


Share-Based Compensation


We maintain an equity incentive plan and record expenses attributable to the awards granted under the equity incentive plan. We amortize share-based compensation from the date of grant on a weighted average basis over the requisite service (vesting) period for the entire award.


We account for equity instruments issued to consultants and vendors in exchange for goods and services at fair value. The measurement date for the fair value of the equity instruments issued is determined at the earlier of (i) the date at which a commitment for performance by the consultant or vendor is reached or (ii) the date at which the consultant’s or vendor’s performance is complete. In the case of equity instruments issued to consultants, the fair value of the equity instrument is recognized over the term of the consulting agreement.


In accordance with the accounting standards, an asset acquired in exchange for the issuance of fully vested, non-forfeitable equity instruments should not be presented or classified as an offset to equity on the grantor’s balance sheet once the equity instrument is granted for accounting purposes. Accordingly, we record the fair value of the fully vested, non-forfeitable common stock issued for future consulting services as prepaid expense in our consolidated balance sheets.


Income Taxes


We account for income taxes under the provisions of the accounting standards. Under the accounting standards, deferred tax assets and liabilities are recognized for the expected future tax benefits or consequences attributable to temporary differences between the financial statement carrying amounts of existing assets and liabilities and their respective tax bases. Deferred tax assets and liabilities are measured using enacted tax rates expected to apply to taxable income in the years in which those temporary differences are expected to be recovered or settled. A valuation allowance is provided for significant deferred tax assets when it is more likely than not that such asset will not be realized through future operations. Our deferred tax assets and liabilities are primarily related to our Net Operating Losses and timing differences between book and tax accounting for depreciation and our net deferred tax assets were fully reserved as of December 31, 2017 and 2016.


The accounting guidance for uncertainty in income taxes provides that a tax benefit from an uncertain tax position may be recognized when it is more likely than not that the position will be sustained upon examination, including resolutions of any related appeals or litigation processes, based on the technical merits. We recognize any uncertain income tax positions on income tax returns at the largest amount that is more-likely-than-not to be sustained upon audit by the relevant taxing authority. An uncertain income tax position will not be recognized if it has less than a 50% likelihood of being sustained. As of December 31, 2017 and 2016 there were no unrecognized tax benefits included in the consolidated balance sheets that would, if recognized, affect the effective tax rate. Our practice is to recognize interest and/or penalties related to income tax matters in income tax expense. We had no accrual for interest or penalties on our consolidated balance sheets at December 31, 2017 and 2016 and have not recognized interest and/or penalties in the consolidated statements of operations for the years ended December 31, 2017 or 2016.


We are subject to taxation in the U.S. and various state and foreign jurisdictions.


We do not foresee material changes to our gross uncertain income tax position liability within the next twelve months.


Earnings (Loss) per Share


Basic loss per share is computed by dividing net loss attributable to common stockholders by the weighted average number of shares of common stock assumed to be outstanding during the period of computation.  Diluted loss per share is computed similar to basic loss per share except that the denominator is increased to include the number of additional shares of common stock that would have been outstanding if the potential shares had been issued and if the additional shares of common stock were dilutive. Approximately 11,528,000 and 9,808,000 shares of common stock issuable upon full exercise of all options and warrants at December 31, 2017 and 2016, respectively, and all shares potentially issuable in the future under the terms of the Convertible Secured Notes Payable for 2017 and Senior Notes Payable for 2016 were excluded from the computation of diluted loss per share due to the anti-dilutive effect on the net loss per share. 


    Year ended
December 31,
    Year ended
December 31,
Net loss   $ (11,167,000 )   $ (10,026,000 )
Weighted average number of shares of common stock outstanding:                
Basic and diluted     4,010,876       3,594,026  
Net loss attributable to common stockholders per share:                
Basic and diluted   $ (2.78 )   $ (2.79 )

Comprehensive Income (Loss)


We have no items of other comprehensive income (loss) in any period presented. Therefore, net loss as presented in our Consolidated Statements of Operations equals comprehensive loss.


Recently Issued Accounting Pronouncements


From time to time, the FASB issues Accounting Standards Updates (“ASUs”) to amend the authoritative literature in ASC. Management believes that those issued to date that are not described below either (i) provide supplemental guidance, (ii) are technical corrections, (iii) are not applicable to us or (iv) are not expected to have a significant impact our consolidated financial statements.


In May 2014, the FASB issued Accounting Standards Update (“ASU”) 2014-09, Revenue from Contracts with Customers (“ASU 2014-09”) pertaining to revenue recognition. The primary objective of ASU 2014-09 is for entities to recognize revenue to depict the transfer of goods or services to customers in amounts that reflect the consideration to which an entity expects to be entitled to in exchange for those goods or services. This new standard also requires enhanced disclosures about revenue, provides guidance for transactions that were not previously addressed comprehensively and improves guidance for multiple-element arrangements. The FASB has subsequently issued several additional amendments to the standard, including ASU No. 2016-08, Revenue from Contracts with Customers (Topic 606): Principal versus Agent Considerations (Reporting Revenue Gross versus Net), which clarifies the guidance on principal versus agent analysis based on the notion of control and affects recognition of revenue on a gross or net basis. Additionally, the FASB issued ASU 2016-10, Identifying Performance Obligations and Licensing, which provided additional guidance and clarity on this topic. Companies have the option of applying this new guidance retrospectively to each prior reporting period presented or retrospectively with the cumulative effect of initially applying this update recognized at the date of initial application. The original effective date of this new standard was for periods beginning after December 15, 2016. In August 2015, the FASB issued ASU 2015-14, Revenue from Contracts with Customers: Deferral of the Effective Date, which deferred the effective date of ASU 2014-09 and the related amendments by one year to periods beginning after December 15, 2017. Accordingly, we adopted this new standard and related amendments on January 1, 2018, and we have elected to adopt it using the modified retrospective method. Based on our assessment, the adoption of the new revenue recognition guidance will result in an acceleration of certain revenues that are based, in part, on future contingent events. For example, license fee payments received which had been deferred under U.S. GAAP as of December 31, 2017 may be recognized in full or in part as of January 1, 2018 and license payments which would otherwise be deferred until certain performance obligations are completed, may be recognized earlier than the treatment under U.S. GAAP in effect as of December 31, 2017. We are in the process of implementing the necessary changes to our business processes, systems and controls to support recognition and disclosure of this new standard.


In November 2015, the FASB issued ASU 2015-17, Income Taxes (Topic 740): Balance Sheet Classification of Deferred Taxes. ASU 2015-17 requires that entities’ deferred tax liabilities and assets be classified as noncurrent in a classified statement of financial position. ASU 2015-17 is effective for fiscal years beginning after December 15, 2017 and interim periods within annual periods beginning after December 15, 2018. The Company has not yet assessed the impact ASU 2015-17 will have upon adoption.


In February 2016, the FASB issued ASU 2016-2, Leases (Topic 842). ASU 2016-2 affects any entity entering into a lease and changes the accounting for operating leases to require companies to record an operating lease liability and a corresponding right-of-use lease asset, with limited exceptions. ASU 2016-2 is effective for fiscal years beginning after December 15, 2018. Early adoption is allowed. We have not yet assessed the impact ASU 2016-2 will have upon adoption.


In May 2017, the FASB issued ASU 2017-9, Compensation-Stock Compensation (Topic 718). ASU 2017-9 provides guidance about which changes to the terms or conditions of a share-based payment award require an entity to apply modification accounting in Topic 718. ASU 2017-9 is effective for all entities for annual periods, and interim periods within those annual periods, beginning after December 15, 2017. Early adoption is allowed. We have not yet assessed the impact ASU 2017-9 will have upon adoption.


In July 2017, the FASB issued ASU 2017-11, Earnings Per Share (Topic 260); Distinguishing Liabilities from Equity (Topic 480); Derivatives and Hedging (Topic 815): (Part I) Accounting for Certain Financial Instruments with Down Round Features, (Part II) Replacement of the Indefinite Deferral for Mandatorily Redeemable Financial Instruments of Certain Nonpublic Entities and Certain Mandatorily Redeemable Noncontrolling Interests with a Scope Exception. The amendments in Part I of this ASU change the classification analysis of certain equity-linked financial instruments (or embedded features) with down round features. The amendments in Part II of this ASU recharacterize the indefinite deferral of certain provisions of Topic 480 that now are presented as pending content in the Codification, to a scope exception. Those amendments do not have an accounting effect. Amendments in Part I of this ASU are effective for fiscal years, and interim periods within those fiscal years, beginning after December 15, 2018. The amendments in Part II of the ASU do not require any transition guidance because those amendments do not have an accounting effect. Early adoption is permitted for all entities, including adoption in an interim period. If an entity early adopts the amendments in an interim period, any adjustments should be reflected as of the beginning of the fiscal year that includes that interim period. We have not yet assessed the impact ASU 2017-11 will have upon adoption.


In September 2017, the FASB issued ASU No. 2017-13, Revenue Recognition, Revenue from Contracts with Customers, Leases. The ASU adds SEC paragraphs to the new revenue and leases sections of the ASC on the announcement the SEC Observer made at the 20 July 2017 EITF meeting. The SEC Observer said that the SEC staff would not object if entities that are considered public business entities only because their financial statements or financial information is required to be included in another entity’s SEC filing use the effective dates for private companies when they adopt ASC 606, Revenue from Contracts with Customers, and ASC 842, Leases. This would include entities whose financial statements are included in another entity’s SEC filing because they are significant acquirees under Rule 3-05 of Regulation S-X, significant equity method investees under Rule 3-09 of Regulation S-X and equity method investees whose summarized financial information is included in a registrant’s financial statement notes under Rule 4-08(g) of Regulation S-X. The Company is currently evaluating the impact of adopting this guidance.