UNITED STATES

SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION

Washington, D.C. 20549

 

FORM 10-K

 

(Mark One)

x ANNUAL REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934

 

For the fiscal year ended December 31, 2019

 

OR

 

¨ TRANSITION REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934

 

For the transition period from ______________ to _______________

 

 

Commission file number 001-35521

  

CLEARSIGN TECHNOLOGIES CORPORATION

(Exact name of registrant as specified in its charter)

  

WASHINGTON

(State or other jurisdiction of
incorporation or organization)

 

26-2056298

(I.R.S. Employer
Identification No.)

 

12870 Interurban Avenue South

Seattle, Washington 98168

(Address of principal executive offices)

(Zip Code)

 

(206) 673-4848

(Registrant’s telephone number, including area code)

 

Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(b) of the Act:

 

Title of each class   Trading Symbol(s)   Name of each exchange on which registered
         
Common Stock   CLIR   The Nasdaq Stock Market LLC

  

Indicate by check mark if the registrant is a well-known seasoned issuer, as defined in Rule 405 of the Securities Act. Yes ¨ No x

 

Indicate by check mark if the registrant is not required to file reports pursuant to Section 13 or Section 15(d) of the Act. Yes ¨ No x

 

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant (1) has filed all reports required to be filed by Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to file such reports); and (2) has been subject to such filing requirements for the past 90 days. Yes x No ¨

 

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has submitted electronically every Interactive Data File required to be submitted pursuant to Rule 405 of Regulation S-T (§ 232.405 of this chapter) during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to submit and post such files). Yes x No ¨.

 

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a large accelerated filer, an accelerated filer, a non-accelerated filer, a smaller reporting company or an emerging growth company. See the definitions of “large accelerated filer,” “accelerated filer,” “smaller reporting company,” and “emerging growth company” in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act.

 

Large accelerated filer ¨   Accelerated filer ¨
Non-accelerated filer x   Smaller reporting company x
    Emerging growth company ¨

 

If an emerging growth company, indicate by check mark if the registrant has elected not to use the extended transition period for complying with any new or revised financial accounting standards provided pursuant to Section 13(a) of the Exchange Act. ¨

 

Indicate by check mark whether the issuer is a shell company (as defined in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act).

Yes ¨ No x

 

State the aggregate market value of the voting and non-voting common equity held by non-affiliates computed by reference to the price at which the common equity was last sold, or the average bid and asked price of such common equity, as of the last business day of the registrant’s most recently completed second fiscal quarter.

 

As of June 30, 2019, the aggregate market value of the voting and non-voting common equity held by non-affiliates computed by reference to the last sale price of the common equity was $22,000,000.

 

Indicate the number of shares outstanding of each of the registrant’s classes of common stock, as of the latest practicable date.

 

As of March 30, 2020, the registrant has 26,707,261 shares of common stock, par value $.0001, issued and outstanding.

  

DOCUMENTS INCORPORATED BY REFERENCE

 

Portions of the registrant's proxy statement for the 2020 Annual Meeting of Shareholders are incorporated herein by reference in Part III of this Annual Report on Form 10-K to the extent stated herein. Such proxy statement will be filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission within 120 days of the registrant's fiscal year ended December 31, 2019. 

 

 

  

   

 

 

Technologies Corporation

 

TABLE OF CONTENTS

  

 

SPECIAL NOTE REGARDING FORWARD-LOOKING STATEMENTS AND OTHER INFORMATION CONTAINED IN THIS REPORT 1
   
PART I  
   
ITEM 1: BUSINESS 2
   
ITEM 1A: RISK FACTORS 14
   
ITEM 1B: UNRESOLVED STAFF COMMENTS 22
   
ITEM 2: PROPERTIES 22
   
ITEM 3: LEGAL PROCEEDINGS 23
   
ITEM 4: MINE SAFETY DISCLOSURES 23
   
PART II  
   
ITEM 5: MARKET FOR REGISTRANT’S COMMON EQUITY, RELATED STOCKHOLDER MATTERS AND ISSUER PURCHASES OF EQUITY SECURITIES 23
   
ITEM 6: SELECTED FINANCIAL DATA. 23
   
ITEM 7: MANAGEMENT’S DISCUSSION AND ANALYSIS OF FINANCIAL CONDITION AND RESULTS OF OPERATIONS 24
   
ITEM 7A: QUANTITATIVE AND QUALITATIVE DISCLOSURES ABOUT MARKET RISK 27
   
ITEM 8: CONSOLIDATED FINANCIAL STATEMENTS AND SUPPLEMENTARY DATA 27
   
ITEM 9: CHANGES IN AND DISAGREEMENTS WITH ACCOUNTANTS ON ACCOUNTING AND FINANCIAL DISCLOSURE 28
   
ITEM 9A: CONTROLS AND PROCEDURES 28
   
ITEM 9B: OTHER INFORMATION 29
   
PART III  
   
ITEM 10: DIRECTORS, EXECUTIVE OFFICERS AND CORPORATE GOVERNANCE 29
   
ITEM 11: EXECUTIVE COMPENSATION 29
   
ITEM 12: SECURITY OWNERSHIP OF CERTAIN BENEFICIAL OWNERS AND MANAGEMENT AND RELATED STOCKHOLDER MATTERS 29
   
ITEM 13: CERTAIN RELATIONSHIPS AND RELATED TRANSACTIONS, AND DIRECTOR INDEPENDENCE 30
   
ITEM 14: PRINCIPAL ACCOUNTING FEES AND SERVICES 30
   
PART IV  
   
ITEM 15: EXHIBITS, CONSOLIDATED FINANCIAL STATEMENT SCHEDULES 31

 

   

 

 

 SPECIAL NOTE REGARDING FORWARD-LOOKING STATEMENTS AND OTHER INFORMATION

CONTAINED IN THIS REPORT

 

This Annual Report on Form 10-K contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 and the provisions of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended. Forward-looking statements give our current expectations or forecasts of future events. You can identify these statements by the fact that they do not relate strictly to historical or current facts. You can find many (but not all) of these statements by looking for words such as “approximates,” “believes,” “hopes,” “expects,” “anticipates,” “estimates,” “projects,” “intends,” “plans,” “would,” “should,” “could,” “may,” “will” or other similar expressions in this report. In particular, these include statements relating to future actions; prospective products, applications, customers and technologies; future performance or results of any products; anticipated expenses; and future financial results. These forward-looking statements are subject to certain risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from our historical experience and our present expectations or projections. Factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those discussed in the forward-looking statements include, but are not limited to:

 

  · our limited cash and our history of losses;

 

  · our ability to successfully develop and implement our technologies and achieve profitability;

 

  · our limited operating history;

 

  · changes in government regulations that could substantially reduce, or even eliminate, the need for our technology;

 

  · emerging competition and rapidly advancing technology in our industry that may outpace our technology;
     
    customer demand for the products and services we develop;

 

  · the impact of competitive or alternative products, technologies and pricing;

 

  · our ability to manufacture any products we design;

 

  · general economic conditions and events and the impact they may have on us and our potential
     
  · customers;

 

  ·

our ability to obtain adequate financing in the future;

 

  ·

our ability to retain and hire personnel with the experience and talent to develop our products and business;

 

  · our ability to continue as a going concern;

 

  · our success at managing the risks involved in the foregoing items; and

 

  · other factors discussed in this report.

 

Forward-looking statements may appear throughout this report, including without limitation, the following sections: Item 1“Business,” Item 1A “Risk Factors,” and Item 7 “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations.”  The forward-looking statements are based upon management’s beliefs and assumptions and are made as of the date of this report. We undertake no obligation to publicly update or revise any forward-looking statements included in this report. You should not place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements.

 

Unless otherwise stated or the context otherwise requires, the terms “ClearSign,” “we,” “us,” “our” and the “Company” refer to ClearSign Technologies Corporation and its subsidiary, ClearSign Asia Limited.

 

 1 

 

  

PART I

 

ITEM 1: BUSINESS

 

Introduction

 

We design and develop technologies that have been shown to significantly improve key performance characteristics of combustion systems, including emission and operational performance, energy efficiency, safety and overall cost-effectiveness. We believe that our patented ClearSign Core™ technology can enhance the performance of combustion systems in a broad range of markets, including the energy (upstream oil production and down-stream refining), institutional, commercial and industrial boiler, chemical, and petrochemical industries. Our ClearSign Core technology, which is our primary technology, uses a porous ceramic structure held at a distance from the injection planes of a burner to significantly reduce flame length and achieve very low emissions without the need for external flue gas recirculation, selective catalytic reduction, or excess air systems. To date, our operations have been funded primarily through sales of our equity securities. We have earned nominal revenue since inception in 2008.

  

Our combustion technology has been successfully installed in commercial projects across four different combustion applications. These applications include our process burner technology which is currently being optimized to suit high intensity multiple burner industrial applications, and our boiler burner technology which is being configured to achieve performance certification for commercialization in China. Based on the results of our testing and initial field installations, we believe that combustion equipment utilizing ClearSign Core technology is more effective and cost-efficient than current industry-standard air pollution control technologies, such as selective catalytic reduction devices, low- and ultra-low NOx burners (which address nitrogen oxides or NOx), external flue gas recirculation systems and other similar technologies. Such air pollution control systems are widely used in places within our current target markets such as in petroleum refining and petrochemical process heaters, large-scale once through steam generators (OTSGs), enclosed flares, institutional commercial and industrial boilers and other similar equipment. We believe that our ClearSign Core technology can provide value to our prospective customers not only by helping them meet current and possible future legislative mandates to reduce pollutant emissions, but by also increasing operating efficiency and reducing capital expenditures while remaining compliant with operating permit emissions requirements.

  

 2 

 

 

Based on the limited operating data we have obtained from installations, burners utilizing ClearSign Core ceramic technology provide increased heat transfer efficiency compared to standard burner designs. This is consistent with the physics of heat transfer and the mechanisms by which the ceramic technology functions. The increased heat transfer efficiency as reported potentially results in cost savings in the low to mid-single digit range, which would produce an extremely attractive pay-back period for an investment in ClearSign Core technology-based burners. In addition, since the flames in a ClearSign Core system are established within the confines of a ceramic structure and form with minimal “bulking up” from dilutive inert flue gasses, the flame volumes are small, thus virtually eliminating flame impingement and enabling the burners to function better in tightly spaced heaters compared to the flames of traditional low NOx burners. As a result, heaters utilizing ClearSign Core technology appear to require less maintenance, operate at a lower cost, enable increased productivity when heater operation would otherwise be a combination of enlarged traditional low NOx flames and the constraint of limited internal furnace volumes, and, more importantly, may decrease process downtime.

 

Although less developed at this time, we are developing and commercializing a range of sensing products. The markets for these products are wide ranging. These products are being developed to provide superior performance in the flame sensing market and we anticipate that the customers for these products will be similar to our ClearSign Core technology customers, with the addition that the technology is applicable to all installed burners and is not focused on regions in which reducing emissions is a high priority. The second target market is outside of the typical combustion industry and includes transportation industries. While this fundamental technology is proven, the development and refinement for individual applications, obtaining the certifications required for commercial deployment and establishing an efficient manufacturing source and channels to market will take some time and we cannot assure that these goals will be achieved. We believe our sensing technologies provide a valuable diversification for our future business. We believe that the burner sensing technology has a global application, as compared to our burner technology which is focused on regions requiring emissions reduction. Like the burner technology, the burner sensing technology is being developed to provide convenient replacement and retrofit solutions in existing equipment in addition to inclusion in newly built equipment. We believe that the opportunities for applications of our sensor technology in the transportation market are global and of great value, but will also take longer to commercialize for the reasons stated above. We anticipate that this will allow for the continued expansion and growth of our business beyond the maturation of our combustion related businesses.

  

Corporate History

 

We were incorporated in Washington on January 23, 2008. The address of our corporate headquarters is 12870 Interurban Avenue South, Seattle, Washington 98168 and our telephone number is (206) 673-4848. Our website can be accessed at www.clearsign.com. The information contained on or that may be obtained from our website is not a part of this report. We currently operate in the United States and through a subsidiary in the People’s Republic of China.

 

Our Industry

 

The combustion and emissions control markets are significant, both in the wide array of industries in which the systems are used and in the amount of money spent in installing and upgrading systems. Combustion systems are used to provide heat for all manner of industrial processes, including boilers, furnaces, kilns and gas turbines. In order to maximize energy efficiency while keeping pace with regulatory guidelines for air pollution emissions, operators of combustion systems are continually installing, maintaining and upgrading a variety of costly process control, air pollution control and monitoring systems. Although we believe that there are many potential markets for our ClearSign Core technology, to date we have limited the introduction of this technology to petroleum refining process heaters, steam generation, boiler burners, and enclosed flares.

 

 3 

 

 

Our initial target markets center on the energy sector, including upstream crude oil production through the use of OTSGs and wellhead enclosed flares and downstream oil refineries through the use of process heaters and boilers. In recent years, the energy sector has been significantly affected by the volatile market price of crude oil and marginal economic growth. Crude oil prices stabilized during 2016 and 2017 and enjoyed appreciation with the general post-election upswing in certain commodities and improved economic outlook. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, the spot price of West Texas intermediate crude oil in the last five years has ranged from approximately $77 per barrel to approximately $26 per barrel, with 2019 prices ranging from $46 to $66 per barrel. Regardless of the effect of crude oil price volatility, based upon our experience and feedback from current and prospective customers, we believe that the value of our ClearSign Core burner technology to the energy sector continues to be validated because of the technology’s ability to cost-effectively lower emissions and drive certain operational efficiencies.

 

We believe operators in all of our domestic target markets are under pressure to meet current and proposed federal, state and local pollution emissions standards. The standards applicable to our target markets have been developed over the past 50 years with broad political input. Due to the localized effects of poor air quality, we expect these standards to continue to become more stringent regardless of political leadership. We believe this to be the case in the U.S. and worldwide in most major developed and developing countries. As an illustration, air pollution emission standards are most stringent in the states of California and Texas, two states which, historically have leadership from different political parties. As a result, these standards are a significant driver for our development and sales efforts. We believe that our ClearSign Core technology can provide a unique, cost-effective pollution control solution for operators in comparison to all known competing products.

 

Emissions standards largely emanate from the Clean Air Act, which is administered by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and regulates six common criteria air pollutants, including ground-level ozone. These regulations are enforced by state and local air quality districts as part of their compliance plans. As a precursor to ground-level ozone, NOx is a regulated pollutant by local air quality districts in order to achieve the EPA limits. The 8-hour ground-level ozone regulations have been reduced from 84 parts per billion (ppb) in 1997, to 75 ppb in 2008, and 70 ppb in 2015, with the requirement of realizing these levels approximately 25 years following the year of legislation. The areas of non-attainment related to this 1997 limit of 84 ppb are depicted below in the map on the left and the projected areas of non-attainment related to the 2015 limit of 70 ppb are depicted below in the map on the right.

  

   
   
Non-attainment areas under the 1997 limit of 84 ppb Projected non-attainment areas under the 2015 limit of 70 ppb
   
Source: EPA, August 2016 Source: URS, August 2015

 

 4 

 

 

We have noted that local air quality districts in EPA designated “severe non-attainment zones” in California are uncertain as to how they will achieve the 2015 standard and other future EPA requirements. Because of this uncertainty, we believe that local regulators are in search of additional means beyond those included in the current regulations to comply with the impending standards. Although NOx emissions from refineries and other oil production and processing operations are highly regulated since they are historically a significant source of stationary NOx emissions, enclosed flares have not historically been viewed as a source requiring the same level of regulation. We believe that our ClearSign Core technology is uniquely able to address the emissions challenges being faced by oil producers and other industries as those challenges relate to both current and reasonably predictable future local air emission standards.

 

Additionally, we believe that current emissions standards in Europe, the Middle East, parts of Asia and Canada will continue to trend towards stricter air emission standards as these jurisdictions seek to achieve cleaner air. Existing and new emissions standards in such jurisdictions may create additional market opportunities for us.

  

Our Proprietary Technology

  

ClearSign Core Burner Technology

 

The name “ClearSign Core” was adopted to describe the inclusion of ClearSign’s burner technology in the products of original equipment burner manufacturers, providing those manufacturers with a new product range with the unique capability of the ClearSign technology. This will allow ClearSign to leverage our technology and allow our prospective OEM partners to combine their global manufacturing, order fulfillment and service capabilities with what we believe is a distinctively differentiated product performance. Our ClearSign Core burner technology consists of an industrial burner body and a downstream porous ceramic structure. When the unreacted mix of gaseous fuel and air is directed at the ceramic structure, the mixture ignites and stabilizes within the structure itself. Because the fuel and air have more time to mix, the homogeneous mixture mitigates NOx-forming hot spots and chemistry that are typically produced. The mixing and combustion in the ceramic structure results in a dramatically shorter flame, and modification of the structure enables a high level of control over the shape of the flame allowing it to be optimized for a wide range of different applications. NOx, a regulated greenhouse gas pollutant comprised largely of nitrogen oxide and nitrogen dioxide, can be greatly reduced to levels of 5 ppm or below, depending on the specific application, without any external fans or associated power, thereby minimizing harmful emissions while improving system efficiency. A shorter flame can often allow for operation of the furnace at a higher capacity. We believe ClearSign Core’s radiant heat transfer from the ceramic structure enhances thermal efficiency, minimizes the possibility of flame impingement and reduces the likelihood of carbon deposits forming on the inside surfaces of the process tubes (coking) or failure of process tubes, thereby extending the length of time a heater can remain in operation before the need for maintenance.

 

ClearSign Core Plug & Play

 

Our ClearSign Core Plug & Play product provides a simplified, pre-engineered and standardized direct burner replacement for traditional refinery process heaters. We believe that this product will minimize the customized engineering associated with retrofits and lend itself to mass production. The product derives its name from the fact that it is designed to allow quick and easy installation into a multi-burner heater or furnace and possibly allow the heater to continue operating during installation rather than be shut down. We believe that the simplicity of the actions required to retrofit refinery process heaters with the ClearSign Core Plug & Play, and the potential ability to install the ClearSign Core Plug & Play while the remaining burner system is operational, will lead to increased demand for, and ultimately sales of, our ClearSign Core burners.

 

 5 

 

 

ClearSign Core Boiler Burner Technology

 

Our ClearSign Core boiler burner technology is, in essence, the same as the process burner technology. The details of the components are different due to the different orientation of the boiler application, the different internal chamber dimensions and the fact that a boiler operates with a relatively high combustion air pressure, and in the case of a small fire tube boiler, a lower fuel gas pressure. The concept of incorporating the ClearSign Core technology into a typical OEM burner remains the same.

 

ClearSign Core Flaring Burners

 

Our ClearSign Core flaring technology incorporates the same principles as our burner technology, namely directing the fuel gas, in this case typically waste gas, into an air stream with that air and gas mixture forming a flame stabilized on a downstream ceramic structure. This technology has been configured into standard modular designs that can be incorporated into a flame manufacturer’s flare body to provide a flare product with the extremely low emissions production enabled by our ClearSign technology. The pods are designed with standard firing capacities, and these are combined in varying quantities to enable flares to be produced with different firing rates.

 

ClearSign Eye™ Flame Sensor

 

The ClearSign Eye™ flame sensor is an electrical flame sensor for industrial applications. Unlike flame rods, sensing electrodes do not have to make contact with the flame. We are continuing to pursue opportunities for this patented sensing technology through both laboratory research, where we have demonstrated certain favorable attributes of this proprietary technology operating at lab scales, and full scale prototype testing for technology related to burner applications. We have multiple options open to us as channels to market, including manufacturing the sensors as a ClearSign original equipment manufacturer, or OEM, product that we sell either directly or through partners and intermediaries to prospective customers. The value of our sensing technology is that it provides a very reliable alternative or replacement technology for critical safety equipment that is typically very unreliable and requires frequent maintenance on industrial burners. There are additional favorable opportunities for flame sensors on other combustion equipment such as flares, thermal oxidizer burners and boiler burners.

 

Our sensing technology detects the capacitance of a flame, enabling the sensors to function while being physically outside of the flame envelope. This allows the entire sensor probe to be positioned in a cool region, enabling the use of materials and manufacturing processes that provide an extremely long functional life. The electrodes are optimized in shape to provide the most robust signal while being easy to retrofit into existing burner equipment.

 

Development and Deployment of Our Technology

 

To date, we have deployed our ClearSign Core technology through retrofits and replacements of existing burners and complete replacement units in the case of our Plug & Play products. Retrofits often involve engineering around an existing burner architecture that can complicate the ClearSign Core burner installation, whereas replacements are more straightforward and more amenable to being sold and installed by third parties, enabling more expansive channels to market. This is especially the case after the introduction of our Plug & Play technology in February 2017 and the simplified control and operation of this technology enabled by the inclusion of a new start up and flame initiation system in April 2019. Because of this, we have focused the development of our technology to provide designs that can be included into our prospective customers’ equipment as self-contained modules or assemblies rather than projects involving the re-engineering of existing burner systems. In this form, we believe that the ClearSign Core burner technology is ideally suited for installation into new heaters and burner replacements, including heater and furnace types requiring large quantities of burners. We have also developed the ClearSign Core flare and are optimizing our boiler burner technology into a similar repeatable form to aid its inclusion in standard industry equipment on a commercial scale.

 

 6 

 

 

For simplification and marketing, we have adopted the term “ClearSign Core” to refer to the inclusion of our standardized proprietary combustion technology into a variety of combustion equipment types including, but not limited to, process heater burners, boiler burners, burners for thermal oxidizers and flares. Earlier heater retrofits in which a continuous ceramic “wall” was suspended above the existing burners also still operate and continue to be referred to as “Duplex” technology. The combustion controlling principles of both the “ClearSign Core” and “Duplex” technologies are the same, however the difference is in the ease of use, channel to market and standardization of the technology.

  

We have now achieved emission results in multiple applications that were superior to current local Best Available Control Technology (BACT) levels in multiple installations in California related to three of our five target industries. We intend to continue to demonstrate ClearSign Core capabilities through (i) working with local air quality officials to demonstrate the effectiveness of the technology, (ii) operating in-place units, (iii) engineering and testing with new customers, (iv) pursuing additional lab research and developing new applications (e.g. institutional commercial and industrial boilers) and next generation improvements to ClearSign Core design and standardization, including the pursuit of more complete systems similar to the ClearSign Core Plug & Play for application in other vertical markets, and (v) assisting our customers in making emission results available for designation as BACT by local regulatory bodies.

 

ClearSign Core Technology Product Applications

 

To date, we have deployed our ClearSign Core technology through retrofits and replacements of existing burners. Retrofits often involved engineering around an existing burner architecture that can complicate the installation. This was the case with the old “Duplex” technology, which we no longer install other than for the servicing of existing units. Replacements are more straightforward, especially after the introduction of our Plug & Play technology in February 2017, now developed into our ClearSign Core. By developing our ClearSign Core technology to enable a replacement product, we are able to standardize our designs, simplify inventory and, by removing the need to individually engineer every application, we are able to collaborate with other commercial equipment suppliers to incorporate our ClearSign Core technology into their standard product lines, greatly increasing our potential market reach and the resources we are able to make available to our prospective customers.

 

Process Heaters in the Oil Refining Industry

 

To date, we have successfully retrofitted two ClearSign Core installations, two process heaters with the standard Duplex design and one demonstration unit with the Duplex Plug & Play design. The ClearSign Core “Plug & Play” design provides a more simplified, pre-engineered and standardized direct burner replacement for traditional refinery process heaters. We believe that this product will reduce the customized engineering associated with typical retrofits and lend itself to mass production. This is our most developed burner product, able to operate the same way as a standard burner and to fit into a heater and control systems. We believe that this product is suitable for licensing and potential manufacturing arrangements with OEMs having established manufacturing and distribution capabilities.

 

We plan to continue extending the range of ClearSign Core Plug & Play devices to allow the replacement of other burner shapes and configurations, as well as alternate process applications, to further enhance the market available for this product.

 

 7 

 

 

Wellhead Enclosed Flares

 

A major California oil producer approached us in early 2016 to address a unique emission compliance need relating to wellhead enclosed flares. This was an important milestone because it demonstrated the broad application of our Duplex technology. A total of six units using the Duplex technology have been installed for enclosed flares to date. The standardized ClearSign Core technology was developed from the Duplex technology, which it has now replaced. One installation of the ClearSign Core technology in a wellhead enclosed flare is installed and awaiting customer testing.

 

Based upon discussions with local regulators and examination of regulatory reports, we believe that enclosed flare emissions are a potential target for increased regulation, in part because the success of our installations to date has shown regulators and the EPA that it is possible to establish NOx emissions standards for enclosed flares. In anticipation of this, we are pursuing potential customers with target enclosed flare applications that would benefit from our technology. In 2019, with the development of our standardized ClearSign Core flare technology, we formed a collaborative alliance with the flare OEM, ASHCOR, to enhance our potential sales reach and production capabilities while providing ASHCOR with unique product capability.

 

OTSGs for the Enhanced Oil Recovery Industry

 

We have successfully installed our Duplex technology in three OTSG projects in the enhanced oil recovery industry in California. We believe that these successful installations are gaining regulator acceptance by the Southern California regulatory authorities and, as a result, market acceptance. Field data reported by our customer indicates significant efficiency improvements resulting from the installation of the ClearSign technology.

 

Industrial Commercial Boilers

 

There are a large number of boiler manufacturers producing many styles of boiler equipment for many different applications. Boilers are used in many industrial applications, as well as in commercial and residential applications at much smaller scales. We are currently actively working on commercial boiler applications for two distinct types of industry standard commercial boilers – fire tube and water tube boilers. For fire tube products, we have recently developed our own prototype burner replacement product similar in concept to our ClearSign Core Plug and Play device for process heaters. This product has achieved excellent results after testing in a typical commercial fire tube boiler produced by one of the industry’s largest suppliers. Water tube boilers are larger and more varied in their designs. These field projects are being undertaken in China and are ongoing. We anticipate significant progress during 2020 in testing this equipment although progress has been delayed by the effects of the SARS-COV-2 virus (coronavirus or COVID-19) spread that began in China and now has spread to the United States and most of the world. If the testing is successful, our goal will be to partner with established Western OEMs in the water tube and fire tube boiler industry for wider deployment of our ClearSign Core boiler burner technology in the West, and also to sell the boiler burner technology into the very large Chinese market through our Chinese subsidiary in collaboration with strategic partners in China.

 

Technical Components of our ClearSign Core Technology

 

Our ClearSign Core burner technology consists of an industrial burner with our ClearSign Core technology added in place of the traditional burner gas tips, flame stabilization device and refractory tile. The ClearSign Core comsists of a series of gas tips arranged inside the combustion air stream at the point it passes the boundary into a heater. Some distance downstream is a primary or ignition device followed by the porous ceramic structure. Between the injection point of the fuel gas and the primary or ignition device is a support structure and a mixing tube or tubes that optimize the flow of the fuel and air mixture onto the primary or ignition device and the ceramic structure. When the unreacted mix of gaseous fuel and air is directed at the ceramic structure, the mixture ignites and burns within the structure itself. Because the fuel and air have more time to mix, the homogeneous mixture greatly reduces NOx- forming hot spots that are typically produced with existing technology. The mixing and combustion in the ceramic structure results in a dramatically shorter flame. NOx, a regulated pollutant comprised of nitrogen oxide and nitrogen dioxide, is greatly reduced to levels of 5ppm or below, depending on the specific application, without any external fans or associated power, thereby minimizing harmful emissions while improving system efficiency. A shorter flame allows for consistent operation of the furnace at a higher capacity. As noted above, we believe ClearSign burner technologies’ radiant heat transfer from the ceramic structure enhances thermal efficiency, reduces the probability of flame impingement and reduces the likelihood of carbon deposits forming on the inside surfaces of the process tubes (coking) or failure of process tubes, thereby increasing operational run time and productivity and reducing heater maintenance costs.

  

 8 

 

 

 

ClearSign Core Performance

 

We have now achieved emission results in multiple applications that exceeded current local BACT levels, including in multiple installations in California related to three of our five target industries. As indicated above, we intend to continue to demonstrate ClearSign Core capabilities through (i) working with local air quality officials to demonstrate the effectiveness of the technology, (ii) operating in-place units, (iii) engineering and testing with new customers and applications, (iv) pursuing additional lab research and development of new applications and next generation improvements to ClearSign Core design and standardization, including the pursuit of more complete systems similar to the process burner ClearSign Core Plug & Play for applications in other vertical markets, and (v) assisting our customers in making emission results available for designation as BACT by local regulatory bodies.

  

Our Target Markets

 

Our ClearSign Core products compete in the combustion and emissions control markets. These are highly competitive industries that are currently dominated by companies that have both established products as well as substantially greater infrastructure, customer support networks, and financial resources than we do. Based on the testing and the field installations completed to date, however, we believe that our ClearSign Core technology provides a unique and powerful ability to improve energy efficiency and operational performance, while at the same time significantly reducing emissions, leading to an overall cost-effective installation. Further, we believe that our technology is well suited to create substantial synergistic value through its incorporation into the mainstream commercial offerings of the market incumbents as a “ClearSign Core”, thus leveraging the ClearSign technology and the established breadth and capabilities of collaborating companies.

  

 9 

 

 

We are targeting the following segments of the combustion market for our ClearSign Core technology:

 

·institutional commercial and industrial boilers;
·refinery and petrochemical process heaters;
·large industrial boilers;
·enclosed flares; and
·enhanced oil recovery steam generations

  

In each segment, we are marketing solutions with our ClearSign Core technology that we believe could simultaneously improve productivity, operational efficiency and pollution control through (i) cost-effective retrofitting of our ClearSign Core technology into existing standard system designs, and (ii) new system designs.

 

Our target markets are greatly affected by air emission regulations and economic conditions. Accordingly, our target market segments are also prioritized geographically based on the needs of the local industries and current and anticipated future demands of local environmental legislature. Details of the localized effect of these influences in the United States are described in the section of this report titled “Our Industry.” In general our immediate regional opportunities are the West Coast and Gulf Coast of the United States, and the regions of Northern China with high populations and cooler environments where district heating is a large source of fossil fuel consumption and where reducing atmospheric pollution is a high priority of the national and local governments.

 

Competition, Barriers to Entry and Go to Market Strategy

 

The industry in which we operate is global in scope and is populated by large, established suppliers of burners and post-combustion air pollution control systems, most of which possess substantially greater resources than we do. Worldwide, suppliers of burners and air pollution control equipment include but are not limited to companies such as UOP, Callidus, Eclipse and Maxon (all four are subsidiaries of Honeywell), John Zink Hamworthy Combustion (a subsidiary of Koch Industries and including Coen), General Electric, Haldor Topsøe, Hitachi, Linde, Zeeco and Fives Group, among others. 

 

These systems include low and ultra-low NOX burners, selective and non-selective catalytic reduction systems and other pollution control technologies. The companies that provide these systems are well established and their combustion and emissions control technologies are mostly based on mature, well-understood technologies that are proven in the market. We believe the further development of their technologies, however, will be limited largely to marginal performance improvements. As a consequence of the relatively slow pace of adopting innovation, we believe current technology offerings from the large competitors have become largely commoditized, and differentiation between suppliers is very often based largely on price. This provides both an opportunity and a barrier to more nimble, disruptive companies.

 

From a customer's perspective, legacy air pollution control technologies are viewed as a cost of doing business, and as a means to operate within current and anticipated future regulatory requirements and to avoid fines.

 

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Unlike most other kinds of capital equipment that provide an economic return through enhanced productivity or efficiency, we believe customers of traditional emissions control equipment do not expect any positive return on emissions control investments other than the right to continue operations or avoidance of fines. We believe the ClearSign Core suite of products offers prospective customers the unique opportunity to greatly reduce capital investment and to realize a return on investment through increased efficiency and/or increased productivity, thereby further differentiating the Company’s technologies from the competition.

 

As indicated above, we are seeking to develop our business in the combustion and emissions control market and to establish ourselves in a highly competitive industry among companies that have substantial financial resources, a well-developed infrastructure and established products. The business development strategy for ClearSign is planned and being implemented to enable the value of ClearSign technology to be recognized while minimalizing the challenges, discussed below, potentially provided by the strengths of the other participants and the nature of the customers in this market.

 

Major barriers to entry for a new equipment manufacturer into this market are:

 

1.Developing engineering, order fulfillment and customer service staff: Especially in the refining and petrochemical industries, customers require specialist support throughout the purchasing, order execution and life cycle of the combustion equipment. Recruiting or developing sufficient staff with these specialist skills to provide the level of service required by customers in this market would take time and incur a significant ongoing overhead cost.
  
2.Developing operational infrastructure: Again, especially in the refining and petrochemical industries, customers require thorough quality assurance procedures, including furnaces in which one article from the order typically has to be demonstrated to meet performance guarantees. Developing such an operation would require significant investment and ongoing costs.
  
3.Conservative customers: Because of the complexity of the customers’ infrastructures, the cost of downtime in any part of a processing plant and the potential safety hazards posed by the nature of their operations, the customers are very careful and methodical about adopting a new technology or product from a new unproven supplier.
  
4.Profit opportunity: There is very little differentiation between the products of the established burner equipment providers resulting in thin profit margins on the sale of new or replacement burners. A significant portion of a company’s profit results from the sales of replacement parts and equipment upgrades. Any new entrant without a differentiating technology will not have an established source of significant immediate profit.

  

The “go to market” strategy for the ClearSign Core combustion business has been developed considering both the strengths and weaknesses of ClearSign. The most important weaknesses are highlighted by the barriers to entry identified above: we are a small company with limited financial resources, we do not have a company infrastructure to meet the requirements of our sophisticated target global customers, and while we have highly skilled and experienced employees we do not have the manpower to provide comprehensive service and customer support ourselves. These limitations could be overcome with a significant investment and increase in operational costs; however we believe it is in the best interests of the Company and our shareholders to develop our business with an asset light model to the extent this can enable a timely path to mainstream operations maximum profitability.

 

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Our strengths include our technology, which has been developed to provide a standard set of “core” components that can be incorporated into any generic OEM burner body to provide unique emissions minimizing and flame size controlling performance. Our strengths also include the market opportunity potentially created by new and anticipated environmental emissions control regulations that require combustion performance that either exceeds the technology available from the incumbent equipment manufacturers, or requires retrofitting of existing equipment with a post combustion clean up apparatus that is a very expensive modification, especially for small to mid-sized heaters. We believe the incumbent burner OEM product development approaches to be incremental in nature, and are unlikely to pose a significant threat to the value provided by ClearSign Core technology in the foreseeable future.

 

Our business has been, and continues to be, developed with the goal of combining our technology with the infrastructure and resources of major OEM equipment manufacturers. Through such a collaborative arrangement, an OEM burner manufacturer can reap the benefits of adding a truly differentiated and unique product line to its offering, while for ClearSign the alliance will provide a means to overcome the barriers to market resulting from the need for a capital and operating expense-intensive infrastructure and a large specialist staff. In addition, we believe that having orders fulfilled by a well-known and trusted supplier will reduce the risk, as perceived by prospective customers, of dealing with a small company and will aid in the adoption of our technology.

 

Our business plan contemplates forming collaborative partnerships with major OEM equipment manufacturers. At this time our technology has been demonstrated to have commercial viability and has generated interest from end users and OEMs. We expect that the development of strategically chosen collaborative partnerships will result in the supply of ClearSign Core technology to major global customers in large quantities and with the engineering, quality control, customer support and project management services such sophisticated customers require. These relationships will also enable our OEM partners to offer a unique product into the marketplace, providing a potentially significant commercial opportunity for both them and us. We believe forming such alliances will dramatically accelerate the global sales and market adoption rate of our technology.  We already have one agreement at this time for our flare product with ASHCOR, which was announced in June 2019. We are also pursuing various other licensing arrangements for other market verticals and ClearSign Core applications. 

  

Pricing Strategy. Our target markets are characterized by well-established competitors in mature businesses. As a result, competitive pricing rather than pricing based on broad product value is the standard for these markets. However, we believe that our technology improves combustion equipment with unique capabilities and will provide significant economic value compared to the next best alternative solutions available to our prospective customers, thereby resulting in substantial value to them. This, in turn, should enable products containing ClearSign Core technology to sell at prices reflecting the value they offer. Consequently, we believe that the value the ClearSign Core technology provides to the OEMs partnering with us will result in compensation to us based on that value.

 

Sensing Products. Our sensing products are not yet to the final commercialization phase of the development and product launch process. We have obtained clear and consistent customer feedback guiding the first application of this technology. The target market for this technology is potentially every burner in which flame sensors are deployed, providing a global and very high-volume opportunity. This market is not limited by emissions mandates or the type or manufacturer of the burners. The product is also of value in both retrofit application, where it is applied to existing burners, and to new burners, where it will be installed in the burners by the original burner manufacturer.

 

The technology is proven, final product design details are being completed for our target application and we are assessing various product business strategies. Unlike the ClearSign Core burner technology, we are assessing both the possibility that we manufacture the sensing products along with the alternative of partnering with one or more established OEM suppliers.

  

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The fundamental technology for the sensors envisioned for transport applications is the same as for the flame sensors, but the application and form of the final product will be very different. We have received notable interest in this product from a major global customer giving us the confidence that this is a market and technology worth future investment. This product is in the very early stages of development, and the application will be highly regulated and will require a thorough product development process. However, all indications to date suggest this is a substantial opportunity for ClearSign and has the potential to be a significant source of business in the future.

  

Research and Development Program

 

The experience and industry contacts of our management, board of directors, and consultants with potential customers in the petroleum, petrochemical, and industrial steam applications industries inform our research program. These are supported by field evaluation agreements, research agreements, and memoranda of understanding with potential development partners, customers and research institutions. Our research and development activities make use of employees and consultants who are experts in the areas of industrial combustion, statistical experimental design, gas turbines, fluid mechanics and heat transfer.

 

With the maturation of our ClearSign Core technology, our development process has transitioned from research to commercialization. This has included optimizing the technology to perform in a manner readily adoptable by our prospective customers and easy to implement into the burner structures of our collaborative alliance partners. There are many influences on this later phase of development including customer feedback, product and component standardization, design for manufacture and considerations to simplify inventory management, both for the manufacture and the lifetime support of our products.

 

Our sensing technology for flame sensing applications is proven in our laboratory at bench scale and in full scale early prototype form. This product is transitioning to commercialization. As discussed above, we also have another form of our sensing technology that we believe can indicate the potential flammability of a hydrocarbon gas and air mixture, which can have great and varied application in other industries such as transport. This product is in an earlier form and is currently undergoing validation and optimization of its intended role in this very different application.

 

Intellectual Property Protection 

 

We have generated inventions that we believe to be patentable subject matter and for which we have been seeking protection through patent application filings. As of December 31, 2019, we have 103 active patent grants and another 61 patents pending with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. The earliest year in which any of our patents will expire is 2031. We have been granted 23 patents related to our ClearSign Core technology and 73 patents related to our ECC technology. We maintain an active review process to monitor relevant new inventions to expand our intellectual property protection globally.

 

We cannot predict when our patent applications may result in issued patents, if at all. Further, we may modify a patent application in the future as we develop additional information. As a result, we may create additional patent applications from an existing application, consolidate existing patent applications, abandon applications, or otherwise modify applications based upon our judgment in order to protect our intellectual property in a reasonably cost beneficial manner.

  

Government Regulation 

 

Government regulation, particularly environmental regulation, is likely to play an important role in shaping our product mix and offerings. Field implementation of our technologies requires permits from various local, state and federal agencies that regulate mechanical and electrical infrastructure and fire and air pollution control. 

 

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We believe that we offer major advances in emissions reductions and efficiency improvements. We also believe emissions regulations could enhance market demand for technology if such regulations require a reduction in pollutants such as NOX and CO. In such cases, possible legislation on greenhouse gases, boiler Maximum Available Control Technology (MACT) rules, or general reductions in required criteria pollutant levels globally, and especially in the U.S. and China, could serve our business objectives. Although the timing of such regulations is uncertain, the general trend over the last decades continues to be government-mandated reduction for all criteria pollutants. Ultimately, it may be possible for our technology to achieve BACT designation. We believe the availability of our technology, by itself, may accelerate the government’s willingness to adopt more stringent environmental regulations. Further, we believe efficiency improvements, combined with the elimination of flame impingement, could generate market demand regardless of the existing regulatory framework because they could result in increased productivity or savings for businesses that adopt our technology.

 

Although the current U.S. administration has indicated that it plans to pursue the reduction of environmental regulations in order to promote economic activity and to eliminate or reduce perceived needless environmental regulations, the statements and actions to date have primarily referenced elimination of regulations associated with greenhouse gas emissions, an area with secondary benefit to our technologies, and the approval of oil pipelines, a step that may benefit our business and that of our prospective customers in the energy sector. At this time, we are not aware of any current or proposed federal, state or local environmental compliance regulations that would have a material detrimental effect on our business objectives. We do not anticipate any major expenditures to be required in order for our technology to comply with any environmental protection statutes. Concurrently the Chinese government has enacted notable tightening of allowable emissions levels, particularly for NOx emissions, and we anticipate this trend will continue in the future.

 

Employees

 

As of March 30, 2020, we had 15 full-time employees. Our employees are not covered by collective bargaining agreements, and we believe our relationship with our employees is good.

  

ITEM 1A: RISK FACTORS

 

We are subject to various risks that may materially harm our business, prospects, financial condition and results of operations. An investment in our common stock is speculative and involves a high degree of risk. In evaluating an investment in shares of our common stock, you should carefully consider the risks described below, together with the other information included in this report.

 

The risks described below are not the only risks we face. If any of the events described in the following risk factors actually occurs, or if additional risks and uncertainties later materialize that are not presently known to us or that we currently deem immaterial, then our business, prospects, results of operations and financial condition could be materially adversely affected. In that event, the trading price of our common stock could decline, and you may lose all or part of your investment in our shares. The risks discussed below include forward-looking statements, and our actual results may differ substantially from those discussed in these forward-looking statements.

  

Risks Related to Our Business

 

We are a company with a limited operating history and our future profitability is uncertain. We anticipate future losses and negative cash flows and we may never be profitable. 

 

We are a company with a limited operating history and limited revenues to date. We have incurred losses since our inception and expect to experience operating losses and negative cash flows for the foreseeable future. As of December 31, 2019, we had a total accumulated deficit of approximately $68 million. We anticipate our losses will continue to increase from current levels because we expect to incur additional costs and expenses related to prototype development, consulting costs, laboratory development costs, marketing and other promotional activities, the addition of engineering and manufacturing personnel, and our continued efforts to form relationships with strategic partners. We may never generate significant revenue and we may never be profitable. 

 

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If we do not receive additional financing when and as needed in the future, we may not be able to continue our research and development efforts or commercialization efforts and our business may fail. 

 

Our business is capital-intensive and requires capital investments in order for it to develop. Our cash on hand will likely not be sufficient to meet all of our future needs and because our target customers are, in general, slow to adopt new technologies, we anticipate that we will require substantial additional funds in excess of our current financial resources for research, development and commercialization of our technology, to obtain and maintain patents and other intellectual property rights in our technology, and for working capital and other purposes, the timing and amount of which are difficult to ascertain. Until our technology generates revenues sufficient to support our operations, we plan to obtain the necessary working capital for operations through the sale of our securities, but we may not be able to obtain financing in amounts sufficient to fund our business plans. If we cannot obtain additional funding when and as needed, our business might fail. 

 

Market acceptance of our technology and business is difficult to predict. If our technology does not achieve market acceptance, our business could fail. 

 

We are continuing to develop our technology, which is being implemented and tested in the field by customers in various markets. If we are unable to effectively develop and demonstrate our technology in a timely fashion, gain recognition in our market segments, and develop a critical level of successful sales and product installations, we may not be able to successfully achieve sales revenue and our results of operations and financial condition would then suffer. Our ability to achieve future revenue will depend significantly upon achieving a critical mass of market awareness and sales to potential customers of our products. While we plan to achieve this awareness over time, there can be no assurance that awareness of our company and technology will develop in a manner or pace that is necessary for us to achieve acceptance and profitability in the near term.

 

Further, we cannot predict the rate of adoption or acceptance of our technology by potential customers. While we may be able to effectively demonstrate the feasibility of our technology, this does not guarantee the industrial combustion market will accept it, nor can we control the rate at which such acceptance may be achieved. In certain of our market segments, there is a well-established channel with a limited number of companies engaged in reselling to our target customers. Failure to achieve productive relations with a sufficient number of these prospective partners may impede adoption of our technology. Additionally, some potential customers in our target industries are historically risk-averse and have been slow to adopt new technologies. If our technology is not widely adopted in the industrial combustion market, we may not earn enough by selling or licensing our technology to support our operations, recover our research and development costs or become profitable and our business could fail. 

 

Our efforts may never demonstrate the feasibility of our product. 

 

Our research and development efforts remain subject to all of the risks associated with the development of new products based on emerging and innovative technologies, including without limitation unanticipated technical or other problems, our ability to scale our technology to large industrial applications, conditions in the field during installation and the possible insufficiency of funds for completing development of these products. Technical problems, including those specific to customer site implementation, may result in delays and cause us to incur additional expenses that would increase our losses. If we cannot complete, or if we experience significant delays in completing, research and development of our technology for use in potential commercial applications, particularly after incurring significant expenditures, our business may fail. 

 

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Changes to environmental regulations could make our technology less desirable. 

 

The negative environmental impacts of industrial activity have given rise to significant environmental regulation in industrialized countries. These regulations are important incentives in the adoption of technologies like ours. To the extent that environmental regulations in the United States and in other industrialized countries are modified in the future, or even relaxed, our technology may not produce the results required, or may even be unnecessary, to comply with the modified regulations. If federal, state or local regulatory agencies relax the clean air regulations our technologies are designed to address, our business and results of operations could be materially adversely affected. 

 

We may fail to adequately protect our proprietary technology, which would allow our competitors to take advantage of our research and development efforts.

 

Our long-term success largely depends on our ability to market our technology. We rely on a combination of patents, trade secrets and other intellectual property laws, confidentiality and security procedures and contractual provisions to establish and protect our proprietary rights in our technology, products and processes. If we fail to obtain or maintain these protections, we may not be able to prevent third parties from using our proprietary technologies. Our pending or future patent applications may not result in issued patents. In addition, any patents issued to us, or that may be issued to us in the future, may not contain claims sufficiently broad to protect us against third parties with similar technologies or products or from third parties infringing such patents or misappropriating our trade secrets or provide us with any competitive advantage. In addition, effective patent and other intellectual property protection may be unenforceable or limited in foreign countries. If a third party initiates litigation regarding the validity of our patents and is successful, a court could revoke our patents or limit the scope of coverage for those patents.  

 

We also rely upon trade secrets, proprietary know-how and continuing technological innovation to remain competitive. We protect this information with reasonable security measures, including the use of confidentiality and invention assignment agreements with our employees and consultants and confidentiality agreements with strategic customers and partners. It is possible that these agreements may not be sufficient or that these individuals or companies may breach these agreements and that any remedies for a breach will be insufficient to allow us to recover our costs and damages. Furthermore, our trade secrets, know-how and other technology may otherwise become known or be independently discovered by our competitors. 

 

We may incur substantial costs as a result of litigation or other proceedings relating to patent and other intellectual property rights. 

 

A third party may sue us for infringing its intellectual property rights. Likewise, we may need to resort to litigation to enforce our patent rights or to determine the scope and validity of third-party intellectual property rights. The cost to us of any litigation or other proceeding relating to intellectual property rights, even if resolved in our favor, could be substantial, and the litigation would divert our efforts from our business activities. Some of our competitors may be able to sustain the costs of complex patent litigation more effectively than we can because they have substantially greater resources. If we do not prevail in this type of litigation, we may be required to pay monetary damages and/or expenses; stop commercial activities relating to our products; obtain one or more licenses in order to secure the rights to continue the manufacturing or marketing our products; or attempt to compete in the market with substantially similar products. Uncertainties resulting from the initiation and continuation of any litigation could limit our ability to continue some of our operations. 

 

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A cybersecurity incident or other technology disruptions could negatively impact our business and our relationships with customers.

 

 We use computers in substantially all aspects of our business operations. We also use mobile devices and other online activities to connect with our employees, suppliers and customers. Such uses give rise to cybersecurity risks, including security breaches, espionage, system disruption, theft, the compromise of trade secrets and inadvertent release of information. Our business involves the storage and transmission of sensitive and/or confidential information and intellectual property, including customers’ and suppliers’ information, private information about employees and financial and strategic information about us. If we fail to assess and identify cybersecurity risks associated with our operations, we may become increasingly vulnerable to such risks. Additionally, while we have implemented measures to prevent security breaches and cyber incidents, our preventative measures and incident response efforts may not be entirely effective. The theft, destruction, loss, misappropriation, or release of sensitive and/or confidential information or intellectual property, or interference with our information technology systems, could result in business disruption, negative publicity, brand damage, violation of privacy laws, loss of customers, potential liability and competitive disadvantage all of which could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition or results of operations.

 

We cannot guarantee that any research and development partnership we enter into will be successful. 

 

We intend to form research and development arrangements to develop our technology within targeted segments. Collaborative arrangements involve risks that participating parties may disagree on business decisions and strategies. These disagreements could result in delays, additional costs, risks of litigation, and failure of the development of our technology within the combustion market segment. Success of any collaborative arrangements we enter into will depend, in part, on whether those with whom we collaborate fulfill their contractual obligations satisfactorily. If a party with whom we collaborate fails to perform its contractual obligations satisfactorily, we may be unable to make the additional investments or provide the added services that would be required to compensate for that failure. If we are unable to adequately address any such performance issues, our reputation may be materially adversely affected and we may be exposed to legal liability. Our inability to successfully maintain collaborative relationships, once we enter into them, or to enter into new collaborative arrangements, could have a material adverse effect on our results of operations. 

 

If we are unable to keep up with rapid technological changes, our products may become obsolete. 

 

The market for alternative environmental products is characterized by significant and rapid technological change and innovation. Although we intend to employ our technological capabilities to create innovative products and solutions that are practical and competitive in today’s marketplace, future research and discoveries by others may make our products and solutions less attractive or even obsolete compared to other alternatives that may emerge.

 

Our technology for some industrial applications has not been safety tested yet. 

 

There is inherent danger in dealing with the combustion process. There is additional danger in modifying this process in ways that are new and have only been implemented on a limited basis at a commercial scale. Although we have not yet encountered any areas of risk in the development or testing of our products beyond those already inherent in the combustion process or those particular to an industrial site, we may be exposed to liabilities should an industrial accident occur during development, testing, or operation in our laboratory or during field implementation of our technology.  

 

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We depend on approval from various local, state and federal agencies to implement and operate our technology. There is no assurance that these agencies will approve our technology. 

 

Our technology includes enhancement of the combustion process to reduce certain emissions at a lower cost of ownership than current air pollution control devices. Field implementation of our technology will therefore require permits from various local, state and federal agencies that regulate mechanical and electrical infrastructure and fire and air pollution control. Our technology may be subject to heightened scrutiny since it will be new to these governing bodies. As such, there may be delays or rejections in applications of portions of or all of our technology in the individual jurisdictions involved.

 

We are uncertain of our profit margins and whether such profit margins, if achieved, will be able to sustain our business, because our technology has not yet been fully developed or implemented.

 

We have not fully developed all of our products, cost of goods or pricing. As a result, we cannot reliably predict our profit margins. Our operating costs could increase significantly compared to those we currently anticipate due to unanticipated results from the development process, application of our technology to unique or difficult processes, regulatory requirements and particular field implementations. Further, we envision our pricing to be highly dependent on the benefits that our customers believe they will achieve using our products. Accordingly, we cannot predict whether or when we will achieve profitability, and if achieved, the amount of such profit margins.

 

 Many of our potential competitors have greater resources, and it may be difficult to compete against them. 

 

The combustion industry is characterized by intense competition. Many of our potential competitors have better name recognition and substantially greater financial, technical, manufacturing, marketing, personnel and/or research capabilities than we do. Although at this time we do not believe that any of our potential competitors have technology similar to ours, we are aware certain potential competitors are attempting to develop similar products. Many firms in the combustion industry have made and continue to make substantial investments in improving their technologies and manufacturing processes. In addition, they may be able to price their products below the marginal cost of production in an attempt to establish, retain or increase market share. Because of these circumstances, it may be difficult for us to compete successfully in the combustion market. 

 

The loss of the services of our key management and personnel or the failure to attract additional key personnel could adversely affect our ability to operate our business. 

 

A loss of one or more of our current officers or key employees could severely and negatively impact our operations. Of particular note, the loss of services of Dr. Colin J. Deller, our President, Manuel C. Menendez III, President of ClearSign Asia, or Jeffrey Lewallen, our Business Leader – Refining and Petrochemical, could significantly harm our business. We have no present intention to obtain key-man life insurance on any of our executive officers or management. Additionally, competition for highly skilled technical, managerial and other personnel is intense. As our business develops, we might not be able to attract, hire, train, retain and motivate the highly skilled executives and employees we need to be successful. If we fail to attract and retain the necessary technical and managerial personnel, our business will suffer and might fail. 

 

There are many risks we are exposed to by doing business in China.

 

We are exposed to risks of doing business in China.  As a result, the economic, political, legal and social conditions in China could have a material adverse effect on our business.  In addition, the legal system in China has inherent uncertainties that may limit the legal protections available in the event of any claims or disputes that we may have with third parties, including our ability to protect the intellectual property we use in China.  As China’s legal system is still evolving, the interpretation of many laws, regulations and rules is not always uniform and enforcement of these laws, regulations and rules involve uncertainties, which may limit the remedies available in the event of any claims or disputes with third parties. Some of the other risks related to doing business in China include:

 

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·         the Chinese government exerts substantial influence over the manner in which we must conduct our business activities;

·         restrictions on currency exchange may limit our ability to receive and use our cash effectively;

·         the Chinese government may favor local businesses and make it more difficult for foreign businesses to operate in China on an equal footing, or in general;

·         there are uncertainties related to the enforcement of contracts with certain parties; and

·         more restrictive rules on foreign investment could adversely affect our ability to expand our operations in China.

 

As a result of our anticipated growing operations in China, these risks could have a material adverse effect on our business, results of operations and financial condition.

 

Furthermore, our operations in China have been impacted by the recent outbreak of a strain of the coronavirus, which has resulted in the limitation of flights in and out of China, quarantines, and travel restrictions on the local work force and personnel from our U.S. offices. As a result, the Company has experienced ongoing delays in the completion of these two boiler demonstration projects in China. The disruptions resulting from the coronavirus outbreak could have a negative impact on our financial condition, results of operations and business relationships.

 

Finally, the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and similar foreign anti-corruption laws generally prohibit companies and their intermediaries from making improper payments or providing anything of value to improperly influence foreign government officials for the purpose of obtaining or retaining business or obtaining an unfair advantage. While we make every attempt to comply with these laws, our operations outside the United States may increase the risk of violating such laws. Violations of these laws may result in severe criminal or civil sanctions, could disrupt our business and result in a material adverse effect on our reputation, business and results of operations or financial condition.

 

Our business and operations have been and may continue to be adversely affected by the recent coronavirus outbreak.

 

In order to attempt to mitigate the coronavirus pandemic in the State of Washington, where our headquarters are located, on March 23, 2020 Governor Jay Inslee issued a “Stay Home, Stay Healthy” order which, among other things, (i) directs all individuals living in Washington to shelter at their places of residence (subject to limited exceptions), (ii) closes all businesses except “essential businesses,” and (iii) prohibits all gatherings for social, spiritual and recreational purposes. The order will last for two weeks and could be extended. Our business is not considered an “essential business” and therefore employees are not currently working from our facility in Seattle. As a result, employees currently engaged in optimizing the fire tube boiler for demonstration in China are unable to do so. Our operations in China have also been impacted by the severity of the pandemic, and this has and may continue to delay the completion of the water tube and fire tube demonstration projects. While a similar shelter in place order has been imposed in Oklahoma, where we have a secondary office, due to the nature of our operations in that location our employees can continue working remotely.

 

It is not possible at this time to estimate the full impact that the coronavirus pandemic will have on our business or on our potential customers, suppliers or other business partners. However, the continued spread of the coronavirus, the measures taken by the governments of affected countries, actions taken to protect employees, the limitations placed on travel and border crossings, and the impact of the pandemic on various business activities in affected countries could adversely impact our operational results and financial condition. We currently anticipate that the establishment of the fire tube boiler burner product could be delayed by one to three months. Developments to the water tube boiler burner product in China have already been delayed until the next heating season. These delays could significantly delay any revenue stream that would be associated with the sale of those products in the Chinese market.

 

If the capital markets continue to experience volatility in response to the coronavirus pandemic, we may not be able to raise capital.

 

The capital markets have experienced significant volatility due to the ongoing spread of the coronavirus, which may negatively affect our ability to raise capital.

 

The recent decrease in the price of oil could adversely affect our business and financial results.

 

The business, operations and financial results of our potential customers in the energy sector, specifically refining operations, may experience adverse effects resulting from the recent decline in oil prices.  This event may put pressure on their capital spending budgets, which could make them less likely to invest time and money in new technologies, such as the ClearSign Core, or make them cancel or delay existing projects in our pipeline.  Any of these outcomes could adversely affect our business and financial results.

 

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Risks Related to Owning Our Securities

 

The public market for our securities is volatile. This may affect not only the ability of our investors to sell their securities, but the price at which they can sell their securities. 

 

We completed the initial public offering of our common stock in April 2012. Since that time, our common stock (CLIR: NASDAQ) has traded as low as $0.35 per share and as high as $11.75 per share based upon daily closing prices, and day-to-day trading has been volatile at times. This volatility may continue or increase in the future. The market price for the securities may be significantly affected by factors such as progress in the development of our technology, agreements with research facilities or co-development partners, commercialization of our technology, variations in quarterly and yearly operating results, general trends in the alternative energy industry, and changes in state or federal regulations affecting us and our industry. Furthermore, in recent years the stock market has experienced extreme price and volume fluctuations that are unrelated or disproportionate to the operating performance of the affected companies, such as the market reaction to the coronavirus outbreak. Such broad market fluctuations may adversely affect the market price of our securities. 

 

We have the right to issue shares of preferred stock. If we were to issue preferred stock, it is likely to have rights, preferences and privileges that may adversely affect our common stock or other securities. 

 

We are authorized to issue 2,000,000 shares of “blank check” preferred stock, with such rights, preferences and privileges as may be determined from time-to-time by our board of directors. Our board of directors is empowered, without shareholder approval, to issue preferred stock in one or more series, and to fix for any series the dividend rights, dissolution or liquidation preferences, redemption prices, conversion rights, voting rights, and other rights, preferences and privileges for the preferred stock. No shares of preferred stock are presently issued and outstanding and we have no immediate plans to issue shares of preferred stock. The issuance of shares of preferred stock, depending on the rights, preferences and privileges attributable to the preferred stock, could adversely reduce the voting rights and powers of the common stock and the portion of our assets allocated for distribution to common stock holders in a liquidation event, and could also result in dilution in the book value per share of our common stock. The preferred stock could also be utilized, under certain circumstances, as a method for raising additional capital or discouraging, delaying or preventing a change in control of the Company, to the detriment of our shareholders. We cannot assure you that we will not, under certain circumstances, issue shares of our preferred stock. 

 

We may be required to raise additional financing by issuing new securities, which may have terms or rights superior to those of our shares of common stock, which could adversely affect the market price of our shares of common stock and our business. 

 

We will require additional financing to fund research, development and commercialization of our technology, to obtain and maintain patents and other intellectual property rights in our technology, and for working capital and other purposes. We may not be able to obtain financing on favorable terms, if at all. Additionally, COVID-19 has caused significant disruptions to the global financial markets which could impact our ability to raise additional capital. If we raise additional funds by issuing equity securities, the percentage ownership of our then-current shareholders will be reduced. Further, we may have to offer new investors in our equity securities rights that are superior to the holders of common stock, which could adversely affect the market price and the voting power of shares of our common stock. If we raise additional funds by issuing debt securities, the holders of these debt securities would similarly have some rights senior to those of the holders of shares of common stock, and the terms of these debt securities could impose restrictions on operations and create a significant interest expense for us which could have a materially adverse effect on our business and results of operations. 

 

 20 

 

 

We have not paid dividends in the past and have no immediate plans to pay dividends. 

 

We plan to reinvest all of our earnings, to the extent we have earnings, in order to continue to develop our products, to market our products, to cover operating costs and to otherwise become and remain competitive. We do not plan to pay any cash dividends with respect to our securities in the foreseeable future. We cannot assure you that we would, at any time, generate sufficient surplus cash that would be available for distribution to the holders of our common stock as a dividend.  

 

We have a significant number of options and a small number of warrants outstanding and we may issue additional options in the future to employees, officers, directors, independent contractors and agents. Sales of the underlying shares of common stock could adversely affect the market price of our common stock. 

 

As of March 30, 2020, we had outstanding options and warrants for the purchase of 2,916,601 and 80,000 shares of common stock, respectively. Under the ClearSign Technologies Corporation 2011 Equity Incentive Plan and the ClearSign Combustion Corporation 2013 Consultant Stock Plan (collectively, the “Plans”), we have the ability to grant awards of shares or options to employees, officers, directors, independent contractors and agents. Furthermore, as of December 31, 2019, we have reserved an additional 1,282,027 shares of common stock for such awards and the Plans provide that this number may increase quarterly by a collective amount of up to 16% of the number of shares issued by us each quarter. Certain holders may sell these shares in the public markets from time to time, without limitations on the timing, amount or method of sale. If our stock price rises, the holders may exercise their warrants and options and sell a large number of shares. This could cause the market price of our common stock to decline.

 

We have incurred and will incur significant costs as a result of being a public company that reports to the Securities and Exchange Commission and our management is required to devote substantial time to meet compliance obligations. 

 

As a public company reporting to the Securities and Exchange Commission, we incur significant legal, accounting, investor relations, printing, board compensation, and other expenses that we did not incur as a private company. These costs totaled $1,061,000 in 2019. We are subject to the reporting requirements of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 (with the exception of the requirement of auditor attestation of internal control over financial reporting from which we are currently excluded as a non-accelerated filer company), as well as rules subsequently implemented by the Commission that impose significant requirements on public companies, including requiring establishment and maintenance of effective disclosure and financial controls and changes in corporate governance practices. In addition, there are significant corporate governance and executive compensation-related provisions in the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Protection Act that as we grow could increase our legal and financial compliance costs, make some activities more difficult, time-consuming or costly and may also place undue strain on our personnel, systems and resources. Our management and other personnel continually devote a substantial amount of time to these compliance initiatives. Furthermore, these rules and regulations may make it more difficult and more expensive for us to obtain director and officer liability insurance, and we may be required to accept reduced policy limits and coverage or incur substantially higher costs to obtain the same or similar coverage. As a result, it may be more difficult for us to attract and retain qualified people to serve on our board of directors, our board committees or as executive officers.

 

Our charter documents and Washington law may inhibit a takeover that shareholders consider favorable.

 

Provisions of our articles of Incorporation and bylaws and applicable provisions of Washington law may delay or discourage transactions involving an actual or potential change in our control or change in our management, including transactions in which shareholders might otherwise receive a premium for their shares, or transactions that our shareholders might otherwise deem to be in their best interests. The provisions in our articles of incorporation and bylaws: 

 

  ·

authorize our board of directors to issue preferred stock without shareholder approval and to

designate the rights, preferences and privileges of each class; if issued, such preferred stock would increase the number of outstanding shares of our capital stock and could include terms that may deter an acquisition of us;

 

  · limit who may call shareholder meetings;

 

 21 

 

 

  · do not provide for cumulative voting rights; and

 

  ·

provide that all vacancies may be filled by the affirmative vote of a majority of directors then in office, even if less than a quorum, unless the vacant office is to be held by a director elected by the holders of one or more classes or series of shares entitled to vote thereon, in which case the vacancy can be filled only by the vote of the holders of such class or series.

 

In addition, Chapter 23B.19 of the Washington Revised Code generally limits our ability to engage in any business combination with a person who beneficially owns 10% or more of our outstanding voting stock unless certain conditions are satisfied. This restriction lasts for a period of five years following the share acquisition. These provisions may have the effect of entrenching our management team and may deprive you of the opportunity to sell your shares to potential acquirers at a premium over prevailing prices. This potential inability to obtain a control premium could reduce the price of our common stock or other securities.

 

If we fail to comply with the continued minimum closing bid requirements of The Nasdaq Capital Market LLC (“Nasdaq”) by July 13, 2020 or other requirements for continued listing, including stockholder equity requirements, our common stock may be delisted and the price of our common stock and our ability to access the capital markets could be negatively impacted.

 

Our common stock is listed for trading on Nasdaq, therefore, we must satisfy Nasdaq’s continued listing requirements, including, among other things, a minimum closing bid price requirement of $1.00 per share for 30 consecutive business days. On January 15, 2020, the Nasdaq staff notified us that we did not comply with the minimum $1.00 per share bid price requirement for continued listing, as set forth in Nasdaq Listing Rule 5550(a)(2). We have been granted 180 calendar days, through July 13, 2020, to regain compliance. In the event that we do not regain compliance within this 180 day period, we may be eligible to seek an additional compliance period of 180 calendar days if we meet certain requirements.

 

There can be no assurance that we will be able to regain compliance with Nasdaq’s listing rules. If we are unable to regain compliance with the minimum closing bid price requirement or if we fail to meet any of the other continued listing requirements, including stockholder equity requirements, our securities may be delisted from Nasdaq, which could reduce the liquidity of our common stock materially and result in a corresponding material reduction in the price of our common stock. In addition, delisting could harm our ability to raise capital on terms acceptable to us, or at all, and may result in the potential loss of confidence by investors, employees and business development opportunities.

  

ITEM 1B: UNRESOLVED STAFF COMMENTS.

 

None.

  

ITEM 2: PROPERTIES.

 

Our principal office is located at 12870 Interurban Avenue South, Seattle, Washington with satellite offices located in Tulsa, Oklahoma and Beijing, China. At our principal office in Seattle, we currently lease approximately 9,425 square feet of office and laboratory space, which is suitable and adequate for our current operations, under a triple net lease which expires in May 2023. Monthly minimum rent is approximately $14,000. The Company also has triple net operating leases for office space located in Tulsa, Oklahoma and Beijing, China. The term of the lease for the Tulsa location began in September 2016 and will expire in August 2022. The monthly minimum rent for our Tulsa location is approximately $2,200. The term of the lease for the Beijing location began in November 2018 and will expire in November 2020. The monthly minimum rent for our Beijing location is approximately $6,000 (37,000RMB).

  

 22 

 

 

ITEM 3: LEGAL PROCEEDINGS.

 

From time to time we may become involved in various lawsuits and legal proceedings which arise in the ordinary course of business. Litigation is subject to inherent uncertainties and an adverse result in any such matter may harm our business. As of the date of this report, we are not a party to any material pending legal proceedings.

  

ITEM 4: MINE SAFETY DISCLOSURES.

 

Not applicable.

  

PART II

  

ITEM 5: MARKET FOR REGISTRANT’S COMMON EQUITY, RELATED STOCKHOLDER MATTERS AND ISSUER PURCHASES OF EQUITY SECURITIES.

 

Our common stock is listed on the Nasdaq Capital Market under the symbol “CLIR”.

 

According to our transfer agent, as of March 30, 2020 we had approximately 140 shareholders of record. This number does not include an indeterminate number of holders whose shares are held by brokers in street name. Our stock transfer agent is VStock Transfer, LLC, 18 Lafayette Place, Woodmere, NY 11598.

 

Recent Issuances of Unregistered Securities

 

On December 31, 2019, we issued 2,500 shares of common stock, having a per share value of $1.03, the closing price of our common stock on October 30, 2019, the date of grant, from our 2013 Consultant Stock Plan to our investor relations firm, Firm IR Group, LLC, for services provided in the three months ended December 31, 2019. We relied on Section 4(a)(2) of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, and Regulation D promulgated thereunder to issue the stock.

 

Equity Compensation Plan Information

 

See Item 12, Security Ownership of Certain Beneficial Owners and Management and Related Stockholder Matters, for information about our equity compensation plans.

  

ITEM 6: SELECTED FINANCIAL DATA.

 

As a smaller reporting company, we are not required to provide this information.

  

 23 

 

 

ITEM 7: MANAGEMENT’S DISCUSSION AND ANALYSIS OF FINANCIAL CONDITION AND RESULTS OF OPERATIONS.

 

The following discussion and analysis of our financial condition and results of operations should be read in conjunction with the audited consolidated financial statements and related notes included elsewhere in this Annual Report on Form 10-K. In addition to historical information, this discussion and analysis here and throughout this Form 10-K contains forward-looking statements that involve risks, uncertainties and assumptions. Our actual results may differ materially from those anticipated in these forward-looking statements due to a number of factors, including but not limited to, the risks described in the section titled “Risk Factors”.

  

OVERVIEW

 

We design and develop technologies for the purpose of improving key performance characteristics of combustion systems, including emission and operational performance, energy efficiency and overall cost-effectiveness. Our ClearSign Core technology is currently in test furnace and field development. We have generated nominal revenues from operations to date to meet operating expenses.

 

We have incurred losses since inception totaling $67,990,000 and we expect to experience operating losses and negative cash flow for the foreseeable future. We have historically financed our operations primarily through issuances of equity securities. Since inception, we have raised approximately $72.0 million in gross proceeds through the sale of our equity securities. We may need to raise additional capital in the future, however, the significant volatility in the capital markets relating to the ongoing spread of the coronavirus may negatively affect our ability to do so.

 

In order to attempt to mitigate the coronavirus pandemic in the State of Washington, where our headquarters are located, on March 23, 2020 Governor Jay Inslee issued a “Stay Home, Stay Healthy” order which, among other things, (i) directs all individuals living in Washington to shelter at their places of residence (subject to limited exceptions), (ii) closes all businesses except “essential businesses,” and (iii) prohibits all gatherings for social, spiritual and recreational purposes. The order will last for two weeks and could be extended. Our business is not considered an “essential business” and therefore employees are not currently working from our facility in Seattle. As a result, employees currently engaged in optimizing the fire tube boiler for demonstration in China are unable to do so. Our operations in China have also been impacted by the severity of the pandemic, and this has and may continue to delay the completion of the water tube and fire tube demonstration projects. While a similar shelter in place order has been imposed in Oklahoma, where we have a secondary office, due to the nature of our operations in that location our employees can continue working remotely.

 

It is not possible at this time to estimate the full impact that the coronavirus pandemic will have on our business or on our potential customers, suppliers or other business partners. However, the continued spread of the coronavirus, the measures taken by the governments of affected countries, actions taken to protect employees, the limitations placed on travel and border crossings, and the impact of the pandemic on various business activities in affected countries could adversely impact our operational results and financial condition. We currently anticipate that the establishment of the fire tube boiler burner product could be delayed by one to three months. Developments to the water tube boiler burner product in China have already been delayed until the next heating season. These delays could significantly delay any revenue stream that would be associated with the sale of those products in the Chinese market.

 

In order to generate meaningful revenues, our technologies must be fully developed, gain market recognition and acceptance and develop a critical level of successful sales and product installations. In addition, management believes that the successful growth and operation of our business is dependent upon our ability to obtain adequate sources of funding through co-development agreements, strategic partnering agreements, or equity or debt financing to adequately support research and development efforts, protect intellectual property, form relationships with strategic partners and provide for working capital and general corporate purposes. There can be no assurance that we will be successful in achieving our long-term plans, or that such plans, if consummated, will result in profitable operations or enable us to continue in the long-term as a going concern.

 

Our costs include employee salaries and benefits, compensation paid to consultants, materials and supplies for research, costs associated with development activities including materials, sub-contractors, travel and administration, legal and accounting expenses, sales and marketing costs, general and administrative expenses, and other costs associated with an early stage, publicly-traded technology company. We currently have 15 full-time employees. Because using third party expertise and resources is more efficient than maintaining full time resources, we also expect to incur consulting expenses related to technology development and some administrative, sales and legal functions commensurate with our current levels.

 

The amount that we spend for any specific purpose may vary significantly, and could depend on a number of factors including, but not limited to, the pace of progress of our commercialization and development efforts, actual needs with respect to product testing, development and research, market conditions, and changes in or revisions to our sales and marketing strategies. 

 

Research, development, and commercial acceptance of new technologies are, by their nature, unpredictable.  Although we undertake development and commercialization efforts with reasonable diligence, there can be no assurance that the net proceeds from our securities offerings will be sufficient to enable us to develop our technology to the extent needed to create future sales to sustain operations.  If the net proceeds from these offerings are insufficient for this purpose, we will consider other options to continue our path to commercialization, including, but not limited to, additional financing through follow-on equity offerings, debt financing, co-development agreements, sale or licensing of developed intellectual or other property, or other alternatives.

 

 24 

 

 

We cannot assure that our technologies will be accepted, that we will ever earn revenues sufficient to support our operations, or that we will ever be profitable. Furthermore, we have no committed source of financing and we cannot assure that we will be able to raise money as and when we need it to continue our operations. If we cannot raise funds as and when we need them, we may be required to scale back our development plans by reducing expenditures for employees, consultants, business development and marketing efforts or to otherwise severely curtail, or even to cease, our operations.

  

Critical Accounting Policies

 

The following discussion and analysis of financial condition and results of operations is based upon our financial statements, which have been prepared in conformity with accounting principles generally accepted in the United States of America. Certain accounting policies and estimates are particularly important to the understanding of our financial position and results of operations and require the application of significant judgment by our management or can be materially affected by changes from period to period in economic factors or conditions that are outside of our control. As a result, they are subject to an inherent degree of uncertainty. In applying these policies, our management uses their judgment to determine the appropriate assumptions to be used in the determination of certain estimates. Those estimates are based on our historical operations, our future business plans and projected financial results, the terms of existing contracts, our observance of trends in the industry, information provided by our customers and information available from other outside sources, as appropriate. See Note 2 to our audited consolidated financial statements included elsewhere in this report for a more complete description of our significant accounting policies.

 

Revenue Recognition and Cost of Goods Sold The Company recognizes revenue and cost of goods sold in accordance with ASC606, Revenue from Contracts with Customers. Revenues and costs of sales are recognized once the goods or services are delivered to the customer’s control and performance obligations are satisfied. Typically, the Company’s customer contracts include performance obligations related to emission levels or other metrics that are measured at project completion. Since this is the singular performance obligation and cannot be achieved until the air emissions and operational performance have been successfully tested, revenue related to the contracts is recognized upon project completion.

 

Product Warranties. The Company warrants all installed products against defects in materials and workmanship for a period specified in each contract by replacing failed parts. Accruals for product warranties are based on historical warranty experience and current product performance trends, and are recorded at the time revenue is recognized as a component of cost of sales. The warranty liabilities are reduced by material and labor costs used to replace parts over the warranty period in the periods in which the costs are incurred. The Company periodically assesses the adequacy of its recorded warranty liabilities and adjusts the amounts as necessary and such adjustments could be material in the future if estimates differ significantly from actual warranty expense. The warranty liabilities are included in accrued liabilities in the balance sheets.

 

Research and Development. The cost of research and development is expensed as incurred. Research and development costs consist of salaries, benefits, share-based compensation, consulting fees, rent, utilities, depreciation, and consumables.

 

Stock-Based Compensation. The costs of all employee stock options, as well as other equity-based compensation arrangements, are reflected in the consolidated financial statements based on the estimated fair value of the awards on the grant date. That cost is recognized over the period during which an employee is required to provide service in exchange for the award. Stock compensation for stock granted to non-employees is determined as the fair value of the consideration received or the fair value of equity instruments issued, whichever is more reliably measured.

 

Fair Value of Financial Instruments. Fair value is the price that would be received to sell an asset or paid to transfer a liability in an orderly transaction between market participants at the measurement date. Assets and liabilities measured at fair value are categorized based on whether or not the inputs are observable in the market and the degree that the inputs are observable. The categorization of financial assets and liabilities within the valuation hierarchy is based upon the lowest level of input that is significant to the fair value measurement.

 

 25 

 

 

The Company's financial instruments primarily consist of cash and cash equivalents, accounts payable, accrued expenses and short-term investments in government securities. As of the balance sheet date, the estimated fair values of the financial instruments were not materially different from their carrying values as presented on the balance sheets. This is primarily attributed to the short maturities of these instruments. The Company did not identify any other non-recurring assets and liabilities that are required to be presented in the balance sheets at fair value.

  

Results of Operations

 

Comparison of the Years Ended December 31, 2019 and 2018 

 

Revenue, Cost of Goods Sold, and Gross Profit. The Company reported no annual revenue in 2019 and incurred $1,000 in warranty costs for previously completed contracts. The Company reported revenue of $530,000 from installation of Duplex units at two enclosed ground flares and one OTSG resulting in a gross profit of $103,000 in 2018. We anticipate gross margins will normalize in the range of 50%, assuming an increase in volume of sales.

 

Operating Expenses. Operating expenses decreased by $1,092,000 to $8,582,000 in 2019 compared to $9,674,000 in operating expenses in 2018, a decrease of approximately 11%. The Company decreased its research and development (R&D) expenses by $996,000 to $3,056,000 for 2019 compared to $4,052,000 for 2018. R&D expenses decreased due primarily to a $415,000 decrease both in consulting costs related to the evaluation of our ClearSign Core technology and laboratory related costs, all of which totaled $776,000 in 2019 as compared to $1,191,000 in 2018. General & administrative (G&A) expenses decreased by $96,000 to $5,526,000 for 2019 compared to $5,622,000 for 2018. This decrease is due to a reduction of public company expenses, investor expenses, consulting services and employment fees of approximately $871,000, offset by the $733,000 write-off of capitalized patent costs which included those related to patents that were projected to be unnecessarily costly and could be disposed of without degrading the quality of other intellectual property.

 

Loss from Operations. Due to the decrease in operating expenses, our loss from operations decreased during 2019 by $988,000 to $8,583,000, compared to $9,571,000 in 2018, a decrease of approximately 10%.

  

Net Loss. Primarily as a result of the decrease in operating expenses, our net loss for 2019 was $8,482,000 as compared to a net loss of $9,500,000 for 2018, resulting in a $1,018,000 decrease in the net loss or approximately 11%.

 

Liquidity and Capital Resources

 

At December 31, 2019, our cash and cash equivalent balance totaled $8,552,000 compared to $8,949,000 at December 31, 2018, which we believe will be adequate to support our operations for at least the next 12 months from the date of issuance of this report. Although we are pursuing sales and co-development agreements, there is no assurance that we will be successful in entering into any such agreements or, if we do enter into such agreements, that they will provide adequate funds to support our operations and to commercialize our technology. To the extent sales and co-development agreement funding is insufficient for these purposes, we may undertake offerings of our securities, debt financing, selling or licensing our developed intellectual or other property, or other alternatives. From inception, the Company’s operations have been funded primarily through the sale of its common stock. In order to continue business operations beyond twelve months from the date of issuance of this report, the Company currently anticipates that it will need to raise additional capital. However, there can be no assurances that the Company will be able to secure any such additional financing on acceptable terms and conditions. Additionally the outbreak of COVID-19 has caused significant disruptions to the global financial markets which could impact the Company’s ability to raise additional capital.

 

At December 31, 2019, our current assets were in excess of current liabilities resulting in working capital of $7,684,000 compared to $14,774,000 at December 31, 2018. The decrease in working capital resulted primarily from a $397,000 decrease in cash and cash equivalents, a $6,923,000 decrease in short-term investments with maturities of twelve months or less, a decrease of $115,000 in accrued compensation, and a decrease of $109,000 in prepaid expenses and other assets.

 

 26 

 

 

Operating activities for 2019 resulted in cash outflows of $6,902,000 which were due primarily to the net loss for the period of $8,482,000, offset by share based compensation primarily from the Company’s employee and consultant equity plans of $685,000, services and compensation paid with common stock of $14,000, abandonment of capitalized patent costs of $733,000 and depreciation and amortization expense of $240,000. Operating activities for 2018 resulted in cash outflows of $8,384,000 which were due primarily to the loss for the period of $9,500,000, offset by share-based compensation from the Company’s employee and consultant equity plans of $224,000, services and compensation paid with common stock of $242,000, abandonment of capitalized patent costs of $322,000, and depreciation and amortization expense of $271,000.

 

Investing activities for 2019 resulted in cash inflows of $6,505,000 and cash outflows of $7,425,000 in 2018. During 2019, we received proceeds of $6,923,000 from maturities of short-term U.S. Treasury securities. Development of capitalized patents and other intangible assets resulted in cash outflows of $398,000 and $408,000, respectively. Acquisition of fixed assets for 2019 and 2018 resulted in cash outflows of $20,000 and $94,000, respectively.

 

There were no financing activities during 2019. Financing activities for 2018 resulted in $23,511,000 of cash inflows from the underwritten offering of our common stock that we completed on February 27, 2018, which provided gross proceeds of $12.9 million and net cash proceeds of $11.9 million and the private offering of our common stock that we completed on July 20, 2018, which provided gross proceeds of $11.7 million and net cash proceeds of $11.6 million.

 

Off-Balance Sheet Transactions

 

We do not have any off-balance sheet transactions.

 

ITEM 7A: QUANTITATIVE AND QUALITATIVE DISCLOSURES ABOUT MARKET RISK

 

As a smaller reporting company, we are not required to provide this information.

  

ITEM 8: CONSOLIDATED FINANCIAL STATEMENTS AND SUPPLEMENTARY DATA

 

ClearSign Technologies Corporation and Subsidiary

 

INDEX TO CONSOLIDATED FINANCIAL STATEMENTS

 

   

Page

No.

ANNUAL FINANCIAL INFORMATION    
     
Report of Independent Registered Public Accounting Firm   F-1
Consolidated Balance Sheets at December 31, 2019 and 2018   F-2
Consolidated Statements of Operations for the years ended December 31, 2019 and 2018   F-3
Consolidated Statements of Equity for the years ended December 31, 2019 and 2018   F-4
Consolidated Statements of Cash Flows for the years ended December 31, 2019 and 2018   F-5
Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements   F-6

  

 27 

 

 

REPORT OF INDEPENDENT REGISTERED PUBLIC ACCOUNTING FIRM

 

To the Board of Directors and Stockholders of

ClearSign Technologies Corporation

 

Opinion on the Financial Statements

 

We have audited the accompanying consolidated balance sheets of ClearSign Technologies Corporation and subsidiary (the "Company") as of December 31, 2019 and 2018, and the related consolidated statements of operations, equity and cash flows, for each of the two years in the period ended December 31, 2019, and the related notes (collectively referred to as the "consolidated financial statements"). In our opinion, the consolidated financial statements present fairly, in all material respects, the financial position of the Company as of December 31, 2019 and 2018, and the results of its operations and its cash flows for each of the two years in the period ended December 31, 2019, in conformity with accounting principles generally accepted in the United States of America.

 

Basis for Opinion

 

These consolidated financial statements are the responsibility of the Company's management. Our responsibility is to express an opinion on the Company's consolidated financial statements based on our audits. We are a public accounting firm registered with the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (United States) ("PCAOB") and are required to be independent with respect to the Company in accordance with the U.S. federal securities laws and the applicable rules and regulations of the Securities and Exchange Commission and the PCAOB.

 

We conducted our audits in accordance with the standards of the PCAOB. Those standards require that we plan and perform the audit to obtain reasonable assurance about whether the financial statements are free of material misstatement, whether due to error or fraud. The Company is not required to have, nor were we engaged to perform an audit of its internal control over financial reporting. As part of our audits, we are required to obtain an understanding of internal control over financial reporting but not for the purpose of expressing an opinion on the effectiveness of the Company’s internal control over financial reporting. Accordingly, we express no such opinion.

 

Our audits included performing procedures to assess the risks of material misstatement of the consolidated financial statements, whether due to error or fraud, and performing procedures that respond to those risks. Such procedures included examining, on a test basis, evidence regarding the amounts and disclosures in the consolidated financial statements. Our audits also included evaluating the accounting principles used and significant estimates made by management, as well as evaluating the overall presentation of the consolidated financial statements. We believe that our audits provide a reasonable basis for our opinion.

 

Liquidity

 

As more fully described in Note 1 to the consolidated financial statements, the Company has incurred significant operating losses and negative operating cash flows since its inception. The Company’s continued operations are dependent upon its ability to raise additional funds through equity or debt financing and attain profitable operations. Additionally, the outbreak of COVID-19 has caused significant disruptions to the global financial markets which could impact the Company’s ability to raise additional capital and its operations.

 

 

/s/ Gumbiner Savett Inc.

We have served as the Company's auditor since 2011

Santa Monica, California

March 30, 2020

 

 F-1 

 

 

ClearSign Technologies Corporation and Subsidiary

Consolidated Balance Sheets

                  

   December 31, 
   2019   2018 
ASSETS
         
Current Assets:          
Cash and cash equivalents  $8,552,000   $8,949,000 
Short-term investments   -    6,923,000 
Contract assets   39,000    39,000 
Prepaid expenses and other assets   391,000    500,000 
Total current assets   8,982,000    16,411,000 
           
Fixed assets, net   665,000    457,000 
Patents and other intangible assets, net   1,285,000    1,759,000 
Other assets   10,000    10,000 
           
Total Assets  $10,942,000   $18,637,000 
           
LIABILITIES AND EQUITY          
           
Current Liabilities:          
Accounts payable and accrued liabilities  $845,000   $1,080,000 
Current portion of lease liabilities   177,000    216,000 
Accrued compensation and taxes   226,000    341,000 
Contract liabilities   50,000    - 
Total current liabilities   1,298,000    1,637,000 
Long Term Liabilities:          
Long term lease liabilities   418,000    91,000 
Total liabilities   1,716,000    1,728,000 
           
Commitments and contingencies          
           
Stockholders' Equity:          
Preferred stock, $0.0001 par value, zero shares issued and outstanding   -    - 
Common stock, $0.0001 par value, 26,707,261 and 26,697,261  shares issued and          
outstanding at December 31, 2019 and December 31, 2018, respectively   3,000    3,000 
Additional paid-in capital   77,210,000    76,417,000 
Accumulated deficit   (67,990,000)   (59,511,000)
Total stockholders' equity   9,223,000    16,909,000 
Noncontrolling Interest   3,000    - 
Total equity   9,226,000    16,909,000 
           
Total Liabilities and Equity  $10,942,000   $18,637,000 

 

The accompanying notes are an integral part of these consolidated financial statements.

 

 F-2 

 

 

ClearSign Technologies Corporation and Subsidiary

Consolidated Statements of Operations

       

   For the Year Ended
December 31,
 
   2019   2018 
Sales  $-   $530,000 
Cost of goods sold   1,000    427,000 
           
Gross profit (loss)   (1,000)   103,000 
           
Operating expenses:          
Research and development, net of grants   3,056,000    4,052,000 
General and administrative   5,526,000    5,622,000 
           
Total operating expenses   8,582,000    9,674,000 
           
Loss from operations   (8,583,000)   (9,571,000)
           
Other income:          
Interest income   101,000    71,000 
           
Net loss   (8,482,000)   (9,500,000)
Net loss attributed to noncontrolling interest   3,000    - 
           
Net loss attributed to common stockholders  $(8,479,000)  $(9,500,000)
           
Net loss per share - basic and fully diluted  $(0.32)  $(0.42)
           
Weighted average number of shares outstanding - basic and fully diluted   26,701,042    22,856,210 

The accompanying notes are an integral part of these consolidated financial statements.

 

 F-3 

 

 

ClearSign Technologies Corporation and Subsidiary

Consolidated Statements of Equity

For the the Years Ended December 31, 2019 and 2018

 

   Common Stock  

Additional

Paid-In

   Accumulated    Stockholders'    Noncontrolling     
   Shares   Amount   Capital   Deficit   Equity   Interest   Total Equity 
                             
Balances at December 31, 2018   26,697,261   $3,000   $76,417,000   $(59,511,000)  $16,909,000   $-   $16,909,000 
                                    
Shares issued for services ($1.44 per share)   7,500    -    11,000    -    11,000    -    11,000 
Shares issued for services ($1.03 per share)   2,500    -    3,000    -    3,000    -    3,000 
Fair value of stock options issued in payment of accrued compensation   -    -    100,000    -    100,000    -    100,000 
Fair value of stock options issued for board service   -    -    137,000    -    137,000    -    137,000 
Share based compensation   -    -    542,000    -    542,000    -    542,000 
Fair value of stock award   -    -    -    -    -    6,000    6,000 
Net loss   -    -    -    (8,479,000)   (8,479,000)   (3,000)   (8,482,000)
Balances at December 31, 2019   26,707,261   $3,000   $77,210,000   $(67,990,000)  $9,223,000   $3,000   $9,226,000 

 

   Common Stock   Additional Paid-In   Accumulated   Stockholders'   Noncontrolling     
   Shares   Amount   Capital   Deficit   Equity   Interest   Total Equity 
                             
Balances at December 31, 2017   15,608,853   $2,000   $52,441,000   $(50,011,000)  $2,432,000   $               -   $2,432,000 
Shares issued in stock offering ($2.25 per share)   10,963,543    1,000    24,667,000    -    24,668,000    -    24,668,000 
Issuance costs of rights offering   -    -    (1,157,000)   -    (1,157,000)   -    (1,157,000)
Shares issued for services ($3.50 per share)   7,500    -    26,000    -    26,000    -    26,000 
Shares issued for services ($1.44 per share)   2,500    -    4,000    -    4,000    -    4,000 
Shares issued for board service ($1.85 per share)   114,865    -    212,000    -    212,000    -    212,000 
Share Based Compensation   -    -    224,000    -    224,000    -    224,000 
Fair value of stock award   -    -    -    -    -    -    - 
Net loss   -    -    -    (9,500,000)   (9,500,000)   -    (9,500,000)
Balances at December 31, 2018   26,697,261   $3,000   $76,417,000   $(59,511,000)  $16,909,000   $-   $16,909,000 

  

The accompanying notes are an integral part of these consolidated financial statements.

 

 F-4 

 

 

ClearSign Technologies Corporation and Subsidiary

Consolidated Statements of Cash Flows

                        

   For the Years Ended December 31,
   2019   2018 
Cash flows from operating activities:          
Net loss  $(8,482,000)  $(9,500,000)
Adjustments to reconcile net loss to net cash used          
in operating activities:          
Common stock issued for services   14,000    242,000 
Share based compensation   685,000    224,000 
Depreciation and amortization   240,000    271,000 
Abandonment and impairment of capitalized patent costs   733,000    322,000 
Change in operating assets and liabilities:          
Contract assets   -    145,000 
Prepaid expenses and other assets   109,000    (134,000)
Accounts payable and accrued liabilities   (236,000)   312,000 
Accrued compensation and taxes   (15,000)   (266,000)
Contract liabilities   50,000    - 
Net cash used in operating activities   (6,902,000)   (8,384,000)
           
Cash flows from investing activities:          
Acquisition of fixed assets   (20,000)   (94,000)
Disbursements for patents and other intangible assets   (398,000)   (408,000)
Maturity of (investment in) short term treasury bills   6,923,000    (6,923,000)
Net cash provided by (used in) investing activities   6,505,000    (7,425,000)
           
Cash flows from financing activities:          
Proceeds from issuance of common stock,          
net of offering costs   -    23,511,000 
Net cash provided by financing activities   -    23,511,000 
           
Net increase (decrease) in cash and cash equivalents   (397,000)   7,702,000 
Cash and cash equivalents, beginning of period   8,949,000    1,247,000 
Cash and cash equivalents, end of period  $8,552,000   $8,949,000 

 

Supplemental disclosure of non-cash operating activities:

 

During the year ended December 31, 2019, the Company issued

stock options to purchase a total of 159,100 shares of common

stock to certain of its officers and employees in satisfaction of

$100,000 of accrued compensation at December 31, 2018.

 

In August 2019 the Company exercised options to extend both the

Seattle and Tulsa office leases which resulted in adjustments to the

right of use assets and related lease liabilities by $505,000.      

 

The accompanying notes are an integral part of these consolidated financial statements.  

 

 F-5 

 

 

ClearSign Technologies Corporation and Subsidiary

Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements

   

Note 1 – Organization and Description of Business

 

ClearSign Technologies Corporation (ClearSign or the Company) designs and develops products and technologies for the purpose of improving key performance characteristics of industrial and commercial systems, including operational performance, energy efficiency, emission reduction, safety and overall cost-effectiveness. Our patented technologies, embedded in established OEM products as ClearSign Core™, and ClearSign Eye™ and other sensing configurations, enhance the performance of combustion systems and fuel safety systems in a broad range of markets, including the energy (upstream oil production and down-stream refining), commercial/industrial boiler, chemical, petrochemical, transport and power industries. The Company’s primary technology is its ClearSign Core technology, which achieves very low emissions without the need of external flue gas recirculation, selective catalytic reduction, or higher excess air operation. The Company is headquartered in Seattle, Washington and was incorporated in the state of Washington in 2008.  On July 28, 2017, the Company incorporated a subsidiary, ClearSign Asia Limited, in Hong Kong to represent the Company’s business and technological interests throughout Asia. Through ClearSign Asia Limited, the Company has established a Wholly Foreign Owned Enterprise (WFOE) in China – ClearSign Combustion (Beijing) Environmental Technologies Co., LTD.

 

Unless otherwise stated or the context otherwise requires, the terms ClearSign and the Company refer to ClearSign Technologies Corporation and its subsidiary, ClearSign Asia Limited.

 

Liquidity

 

The Company’s technologies are currently in field development and have generated nominal revenues from operations to date to meet operating expenses. In order to generate meaningful revenues, the technologies must be fully developed, gain market recognition and acceptance, and develop a critical level of successful sales and product installations. The Company has historically financed its operations primarily through issuances of equity securities, including $11.9 million in proceeds, net of offering costs, from a stock offering completed on February 27, 2018 and $11.6 million in proceeds, net of offering costs, from a stock offering completed on July 20, 2018. The Company has incurred losses since its inception totaling $67,990,000 and expects to experience operating losses and negative cash flows for the foreseeable future. On January 15, 2020, the Company received a letter from The Nasdaq Stock Market advising that for 30 consecutive trading days preceding the date of the letter, the bid price of the Company’s common stock had closed below the $1.00 per share minimum required for continued listing on The Nasdaq Capital Market pursuant to listing rules, and therefore the Company could become subject to delisting if it did not regain compliance within the compliance period (or the compliance period as may be extended). Additionally, the outbreak of COVID-19 has caused significant disruptions to the global markets which could impact the Company’s ability to raise additional capital. Based on the Company’s current plans, it has sufficient funds to continue to support its operations for at least twelve months from the date of issuance of these consolidated financial statements. In order to continue business operations beyond twelve months from the date of issuance of these consolidated financial statements, the Company currently anticipates that it will need to raise additional capital. Management believes that the successful growth and operation of the Company’s business is dependent upon its ability to obtain adequate sources of funding through co-development agreements, strategic partnering agreements, or equity or debt financing to adequately support research and development efforts, protect intellectual property, form relationships with strategic partners, and provide for working capital and general corporate purposes. There can be no assurance that the Company will be successful in achieving its long-term plans as set forth above, or that such plans, if consummated, will result in profitable operations or enable the Company to continue in the long-term as a going concern.

  

Note 2 – Summary of Significant Accounting Policies

 

Principles of Consolidation

 

The accompanying consolidated financial statements include the accounts of ClearSign and its subsidiary. Intercompany balances and transactions have been eliminated in consolidation.

 

 F-6 

 

 

Use of Estimates

 

The preparation of financial statements in conformity with accounting principles generally accepted in the United States of America requires management to make certain 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 revenues and expenses during the reporting period. Actual results could differ from those estimates.

 

Revenue Recognition and Cost of Sales

 

The Company recognizes revenue and related cost of goods sold in accordance with FASB ASC 606 Revenue from Contracts with Customers (ASC 606). Revenues and cost of goods sold are recognized once the goods or services are delivered to the customer’s control and performance obligations are satisfied. Typically, the Company’s contracts with customers have performance obligations regarding air emissions and operational performance that are satisfied upon completion of service. Since this is the singular performance obligation and cannot be achieved until the air emissions and operational performance have been successfully tested, revenue related to the contracts is recognized upon project completion.

 

The Company’s contracts generally include progress payments from the customer upon completion of defined milestones. As these payments are received, they are offset against accumulated project costs and recorded as either contract assets or contract liabilities. Upon completion of the performance obligations and acceptance by the customer the projects can be recorded as revenue.

 

The Company's contracts with customers contain no variable considerations or incentives or discounts that would cause revenue to be allocated or adjusted over time. Therefore, no separate methods of evaluating the contracts other than consideration of the price at achievement of the performance objectives was used in satisfying the review requirements of ASC 606.

 

Contract Acquisition Costs and Practical expedients

 

For contracts that have a duration of less than one year, the Company follows ASC 606, “Narrow Scope Improvements and Practical Expedients,” and expenses those costs when incurred; for contracts with a life exceeding one year, the Company records those costs when performance obligations related to the contract are completed. The Company generally expenses sales commissions when earned. The Company records those costs within general and administrative expenses.

 

Product Warranties

 

The Company warrants all installed products against defects in materials and workmanship for a period specified in each contract by replacing failed parts. Accruals for product warranties are based on historical warranty experience and current product performance trends, and are recorded at the time revenue is recognized as a component of cost of sales. The warranty liabilities are reduced by material and labor costs used to replace parts over the warranty period in the periods in which the costs are incurred. The Company periodically assesses the adequacy of its recorded warranty liabilities and adjusts the amounts as necessary, and such adjustments could be material in the future if estimates differ significantly from actual warranty expense. The warranty liabilities are included in accrued liabilities in the balance sheets.

 

Cash and Cash Equivalents

 

Highly liquid investments purchased with an original maturity of three months or less are considered cash equivalents. Cash is maintained with a commercial bank where accounts are generally guaranteed by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation up to $250,000. The Company’s deposits may at times exceed this limit. The Company also maintains a cash balance in China which is insured up to $70,000 (500,000RMB). The Company has not experienced losses in such accounts and believes it is not exposed to any significant credit risk on cash and cash equivalents.

 

 F-7 

 

  

Short-Term Investments

 

Short-term investments consist of U.S. Treasury bills with original maturities of twelve months or less and greater than three months. These short-term investments are classified as held to maturity and are recorded on an amortized cost basis which approximates fair value.

 

Accounts Receivable and Allowance for Doubtful Accounts

 

Accounts receivable are recorded at the invoiced amount. An allowance for doubtful accounts is established, as necessary, based on past experience and other factors which, in management’s judgment, deserve current recognition in estimating bad debts. The determination of the collectability of amounts due from customer accounts requires the Company to make judgments regarding future events and trends. Allowances for doubtful accounts are determined based on assessing the Company’s portfolio on an individual customer and on an overall basis. This process consists of a review of historical collection experience, current aging status of the customer accounts, and the financial condition of the Company’s customers. Based on a review of these factors, the Company may establish or adjust the allowance for specific customers and the accounts receivable portfolio as a whole.

 

Fixed Assets and Leases

 

Fixed assets are recorded at cost. Leases are recorded in accordance with FASB ASC 842 Leases. For those leases with a term greater than one year, the Company recognizes on the balance sheet at the time of lease inception or modification a right-of-use asset and a lease liability, initially measured at the present value of the lease payments. Lease costs are recognized in the income statement over the lease term on a straight-line basis. Operating leases with a term of 1 year or less are recognized on a straight line basis over the term. Depreciation is computed using the straight-line method over the estimated useful lives of the respective assets. Leasehold improvements are depreciated over the life of the lease or their useful life, whichever is shorter. All other fixed assets are depreciated over two to four years. Maintenance and repairs are expensed as incurred.

 

Patents and Trademarks

 

Patents and trademarks are recorded at cost. Amortization is computed using the straight-line method over the estimated useful lives of the assets once they are awarded.

 

Impairment of Long-Lived Assets

 

The Company tests long-lived assets, consisting of fixed assets, patent and other intangible assets, for impairment whenever events or changes in circumstances indicate that the carrying amount of an asset may not be recoverable through the estimated undiscounted cash flows expected to result from the use and eventual disposition of the assets. In that event, a loss is recognized based on the amount by which the carrying amount exceeds the fair value of the long-lived assets. Fair value is determined based on the present value of estimated expected cash flows using a discount rate commensurate with the risks involved, quoted market prices, or appraised values depending upon the nature of the assets. Loss on long-lived assets to be disposed of is determined in a similar manner, except that fair values are reduced for the cost of disposal.

 

Fair Value of Financial Instruments

 

Fair value is the price that would be received to sell an asset or paid to transfer a liability in an orderly transaction between market participants at the measurement date. Assets and liabilities measured at fair value are categorized based on whether or not the inputs are observable in the market and the degree that the inputs are observable. The categorization of financial assets and liabilities within the valuation hierarchy is based upon the lowest level of input that is significant to the fair value measurement. The three levels of inputs used to establish fair value are the following:

 

 F-8 

 

 

·Level 1 – Quoted prices in active markets for identical assets or liabilities;
·Level 2 – Inputs other than Level 1 that are observable, either directly or indirectly, such as quoted prices for similar assets or liabilities, quoted prices in markets that are not active, or other inputs that are observable or can be corroborated by observable market data for substantially the full term of the assets or liabilities; and
·Level 3 – Unobservable inputs that are supported by little or no market activity and that are significant to the fair value of the assets or liabilities.

 

The Company's financial instruments primarily consist of cash and cash equivalents, short-term investments, accounts payable and accrued expenses. As of the balance sheet dates, the estimated fair values of the financial instruments were not materially different from their carrying values as presented on the balance sheets. This is primarily attributable to the short-term maturities of these instruments.

 

The Company did not identify any other non-recurring assets and liabilities that are required to be presented in the balance sheets at fair value.

 

Research and Development

 

The cost of research and development is expensed as incurred. Research and development costs consist of salaries, benefits, share based compensation, consulting fees, rent, utilities, depreciation, and consumables.

 

In 2019 and 2018, the Company received $108,000 and $44,000, respectively, to partially fund specific research and development activity relating to its ECC technology. Since these funds were provided without expectation of reciprocation, except notification of research results, the funds received were offset against the related research and development costs incurred.

 

Income Taxes

 

The Company accounts for income taxes using an asset and liability approach which allows for the recognition and measurement of deferred tax assets based upon the likelihood of realization of tax benefits in future years. Under the asset and liability approach, deferred taxes are provided for the net tax effects of temporary differences between the carrying amounts of assets and liabilities for financial reporting purposes and the amounts used for income tax purposes. A valuation allowance is provided for deferred tax assets if it is more likely than not these items will either expire before the Company is able to realize their benefits, or that future deductibility is uncertain. Tax benefits from an uncertain tax position are recognized only if it is more likely than not that the tax position will be sustained on examination by the taxing authorities based on the technical merits of the position. The tax benefits recognized in the consolidated financial statements from such a position are measured based on the largest benefit that has a greater than 50 percent likelihood of being realized upon ultimate resolution.

 

Stock-Based Compensation

 

The costs of all employee stock options, as well as other equity-based compensation arrangements, are reflected in the consolidated financial statements based on the estimated fair value of the awards on the grant date. That cost is recognized over the period during which an employee is required to provide service in exchange for the award. Stock compensation for stock granted to non-employees is determined as the fair value of the consideration received or the fair value of equity instruments issued, whichever is more reliably measured.

 

Foreign Operations

 

The accompanying consolidated financial statements as of December 31, 2019 and 2018 include assets amounting to approximately $151,000 and $199,000, respectively, relating to operations of the Company in China. It is always possible unanticipated events in foreign countries could disrupt the Company’s operations, and since the end of January 2020 this has been and currently continues to be the case with the effects of the recent COVID-19 pandemic.

  

 F-9 

 

  

Foreign Currency

The functional currency of ClearSign Asia Limited is the U.S. dollar. The Company remeasures the transactions denominated in Chinese Yuan at the average exchange rate in effect during the period. At the end of each reporting period, the Company remeasures ClearSign Asia Limited’s monetary assets and liabilities to the U.S. dollar using exchange rates in effect at the end of the reporting period. The Company remeasures its non-monetary assets and liabilities at historical exchange rates. The Company records gains and losses related to remeasurement in other income (expense), net in the consolidated statements of operations. Foreign currency exchange gain (losses) has not been significant in any period presented and the Company has not undertaken any hedging transactions related to foreign currency exposure.

 

Noncontrolling Interest

 

The subsidiary of the Company has a minority shareholder representing an ownership interest of 1.00% at December 31, 2019. The Company accounts for this noncontrolling interest pursuant to ASC 810-10-65 whereby gains and losses in a subsidiary with a noncontrolling interest are allocated to the noncontrolling interest based on the ownership percentage of the noncontrolling interest, even if that allocation results in a deficit noncontrolling interest balance.

 

Net Loss per Common Share

 

Basic loss per share is computed by dividing loss available to common stockholders by the weighted-average number of common shares outstanding. Diluted loss per share is computed similar to basic loss per share except that the denominator is increased to include additional common shares available upon exercise of stock options and warrants using the treasury stock method, except for periods for which no common share equivalents are included because their effect would be anti-dilutive. At December 31, 2019 and 2018, potentially dilutive shares outstanding amounted to 2,211,058 and 3,376,061, respectively.

 

Recently Adopted Standards

 

In June 2018 FASB issued ASU No. 2018-07 Compensation-Stock Compensation. The amendments in this update expand the scope of Topic 718 to include share based payment transactions for acquiring goods and services from nonemployees. An entity should apply the requirements of Topic 718 to nonemployee awards except for specific guidance on inputs to an option pricing model and the attribution of cost (that is, the period of time over which share-based payment awards vest and the pattern of cost recognition over that period). The amendments specify that Topic 718 applies to all share-based payment transactions in which a grantor acquires goods or services to be used or consumed in a grantor’s own operations by issuing share-based payment awards. The amendments also clarify that Topic 718 does not apply to share-based payments used to effectively provide (1) financing to the issuer or (2) awards granted in conjunction with selling goods or services to customers as part of a contract accounted for under Topic 606, Revenue from Contracts with Customers. The ASU is effective for all entities for fiscal years beginning after December 15, 2018, including interim periods within those years. The Company currently does not believe this amendment applies to any of its transactions at this time.

 

Recently Issued Accounting Pronouncements

  

In November 2018 FASB issued ASU 2018-18 Topic 808 Collaborative Arrangements, The amendments in this update make targeted improvements to generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP) for collaborative arrangements as follows: (1) clarify that certain transactions between collaborative arrangement participants should be accounted for as revenue under Topic 606 when the collaborative arrangement participant is a customer in the context of a unit of account. In those situations, all the guidance in Topic 606 should be applied, including recognition, measurement, presentation, and disclosure requirements; (2) add unit-of-account guidance in Topic 808 to align with the guidance in Topic 606 (that is, a distinct good or service) when an entity is assessing whether the collaborative arrangement or a part of the arrangement is within the scope of Topic 606; (3) require that in a transaction with a collaborative arrangement participant that is not directly related to sales to third parties, presenting the transaction together with revenue recognized under Topic 606 is precluded if the collaborative arrangement participant is not a customer. For public business entities, the amendments in this update are effective for fiscal years beginning after December 15, 2019, and interim periods within those fiscal years. The Company currently does not believe this amendment applies to any of its transactions at this time.

 

 F-10 

 

 

Management does not believe that any other recently issued, but not yet effective, authoritative guidance, if currently adopted, would have a material impact on the Company’s consolidated financial statement presentation or disclosures.

 

Note 3 – Fixed Assets

 

Fixed assets are summarized as follows:

 

   December 31, 
   2019   2018 
         
Machinery and equipment  $762,000   $853,000 
Office furniture and equipment   180,000    186,000 
Leasehold improvements   149,000    150,000 
Right of use asset-operating leases   1,140,000    637,000 
Accumulated depreciation and amortization   (1,566,000)   (1,369,000)
   $665,000   $457,000 

 

The Company has a triple net operating lease for office and laboratory space in Seattle, Washington through March 2020 with rent of approximately $12,000 per month plus triple net operating costs. The Company also has a triple net operating lease for office space in Tulsa, Oklahoma with a term that was to end in August 2019 and monthly rent of approximately $2,000 per month plus triple net operating costs. Both leases include lessee renewal options for three years at the then prevailing market rate. Effective as of July and August 2019, the Company exercised the option to renew both the Seattle lease and the Tulsa lease for three years. The new term of the Seattle lease will begin in April 2020 and rent will be abated for April and May 2020, although the Company will be responsible for its proportionate share of expenses and taxes. The Company will pay a monthly rent of approximately $13,500 beginning on June 1, 2020 through March 2021. The monthly rent will increase on the first day of April of each succeeding year by approximately 3% until the end of the term in May 2023. The rent for the Tulsa lease is approximately $2,200 a month beginning September 2019 through August 2022 with an annual 2.5% increase. The Company has an operating lease for office space in Beijing, China through November 2020 with a monthly rent of approximately $6,000.

 

 F-11 

 

 

Lease costs for the years ended December 31, 2019 and 2018 and other quantitative disclosures are as follows:

 

   For the year ended December 31, 
   2019   2018 
Lease cost:          
Operating lease cost  $238,000   $218,000 
Total lease cost  $238,000   $218,000 

 

Other information:    
Cash paid for amounts included in the measurement of lease liabilities:     
Operating cash flows from operating leases  $238,000 
      
Right-of-use assets obtained in exchange for new operating lease liabilities  $505,000 
For operating lease:     
Weighted average remaining lease term (in years)   3.12 
Weighted average discount rate   7.17%

 

Minimum future payments under the Company’s leases at December 31, 2019 and their application to the corresponding lease liabilities are as follows:

 

   Discounted lease liability payments   Payments due under lease agreements 
2020  $177,000   $215,000 
2021   169,000    193,000 
2022   178,000    190,000 
2023   71,000    73,000 
Total  $595,000   $671,000 

 

Note 4 – Patents and Other Intangible Assets

 

Patents and other intangible assets are summarized as follows:

 

   December 31, 
   2019   2018 
         
Patents          
Patents pending  $846,000   $1,202,000 
Issued patents   619,000    761,000 
    1,465,000    1,963,000 
Trademarks          
Trademarks pending   77,000    55,000 
Registered trademarks   23,000    23,000 
    100,000    78,000 
Other   8,000    8,000 
    1,573,000    2,049,000 
Accumulated amortization   (288,000)   (290,000)
   $1,285,000   $1,759,000 

 

 F-12 

 

  

Future amortization expense associated with awarded patents and registered trademarks as of December 31, 2019 is estimated as follows:

 

2020   131,000 
2021   100,000 
2022   69,000 
2023   41,000 
2024   13,000 
   $354,000 

  

In 2019, the Company continued to reassess its patent portfolio in order to ensure that both the cost-effectiveness and the value created through the intellectual property portfolio were maximized and to focus resources on its most promising patents. Those patents considered to be the most beneficial were retained and those pending patents projected to be unnecessarily costly that could be disposed of without meaningfully degrading the quality of the remaining intellectual property portfolio were abandoned. As a result, during the year ended December 31, 2019, the Company recorded impairment loss of $733,000 of capitalized patents costs and $322,000 during the year ended December 31, 2018.

 

Note 5 – Sales, Contract Assets and Contract Liabilities

 

The Company recognized no revenue during the year ended December 31, 2019. During 2018, the Company recognized revenue totaling $360,000 from completed flare projects, $128,000 of revenue from completion of a once through steam generator (OTSG) project and revenue of $42,000 from a small project. To date, all of the Company’s sales have been Duplex or ClearSign Core products sold in the United States. The cost of goods sold of $1,000 recognized during the year ended December 31, 2019 related to additional warranty costs incurred for previously completed contracts.

  

Note 6 – Product Warranties

 

A summary of the Company’s warranty liability activity, which is included in accrued liabilities in the accompanying balance sheets as of December 31, 2019 and 2018, is as follows:

 

   2019   2018 
Warranty liability, beginning of year  $257,000   $181,000 
Accruals   -    51,000 
Payments   (1,000)   (32,000)
Adjustments and other   1,000    57,000 
Warranty liability, end of year  $257,000   $257,000 

  

Note 7 – Income Taxes

 

Through December 31, 2019, the Company incurred net operating losses for federal tax purposes of approximately $62,600,000. The Company experienced an “ownership change” within the meaning of Section 382(g) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended, during April 2012. The ownership change will subject net operating loss carryforwards to an annual limitation, which may restrict the ability to use them to offset taxable income in periods following the ownership change. In general, the annual use limitation equals the aggregate value of the Company’s stock at the time of the ownership change multiplied by a tax-exempt interest rate specified by the Internal Revenue Service. The Company analyzed the available information to determine the amount of the annual limitation. Based on information available, the 2012 limitation is estimated to be $686,000 annually. The availability of the Company’s net operating loss carry forwards may be subject to further limitation if a change in the ownership of more than 50% occurs within any three-year period since the last ownership change. The net operating loss carry forwards generated before 2018 may be used to reduce taxable income through the years 2028 to 2037. Net operating loss carryforwards generated for year 2018 and thereafter do not expire.

 

 F-13 

 

 

A reconciliation of the expected tax computed at the statutory federal income tax rate to the provision for income taxes is as follows:

 

   2019   2018 
Expected tax benefit at 21%  $(1,781,000)  $(1,970,000)
 Tax Reform          
Change in valuation allowance   1,595,000    1,890,000 
Other   186,000    80,000 
Provision for income taxes  $-   $- 

 

The net deferred tax asset at December 31, 2019 and 2018 was $13,505,000 and $11,910,000, respectively. In assessing the potential realization of these deferred tax assets, management considers whether it is more likely than not that some portion or all of the deferred tax assets will be realized. The ultimate realization of deferred tax assets is dependent upon the Company attaining future taxable income during the periods in which those temporary differences become deductible. At December 31, 2019 and 2018, management was unable to determine if it is more likely than not that the Company’s deferred tax assets will be realized and has therefore recorded an appropriate valuation allowance against deferred tax assets at such dates. Significant components of the deferred tax assets (liabilities), are approximately as follows:

 

   2019   2018 
Net operating loss carry forwards  $13,216,000   $11,540,000 
Accrued liabilities   217,000    280,000 
Stock compensation   (48,000)   (50,000)
Depreciation   145,000    160,000 
Prepaid expenses   (21,000)   (20,000)
Other   (4,000)   - 
Deferred tax assets, net   13,505,000    11,910,000 
Valuation allowance   (13,505,000)   (11,910,000)
Net deferred tax asset  $-   $- 

 

Although the Company is not under examination, the tax years for 2016 and forward are subject to examination by United States tax authorities.

 

The Company’s practice is to recognize interest and penalties related to income tax matters in income tax expense. As of December 31, 2019, and 2018, there were no accrued interest or penalties related to uncertain tax positions.

 

 F-14 

 

 

Note 8 – Equity

 

Common Stock and Preferred Stock

 

The Company is authorized to issue 62,500,000 shares of common stock and 2,000,000 shares of preferred stock. Preferences, limitations, voting powers and relative rights of any preferred stock to be issued may be determined by the Company’s Board of Directors. The Company has not issued any shares of preferred stock.

 

In February 2018, the Company completed an offering of common stock whereby 5,750,000 shares of common stock at a price of $2.25 per share were issued and sold for net cash proceeds of approximately $11.9 million.

 

In July 2018, the Company completed a private equity offering of 5,213,543 shares of common stock at a price of $2.25 per share to ClirSPV, LLC (Investor). Gross proceeds from the offering totaled $11.7 million and net cash proceeds approximated $11.6 million. The Stock Purchase Agreement permitted the Investor to purchase from the Company up to an aggregate 478,854 shares of common stock at a price of $4 per share (Additional Purchase Right). Pursuant to the terms of the Additional Purchase Right, the Investor had the right to purchase shares of common stock from the Company, as the warrants previously issued to the investors by the Company in its January 25, 2017 rights offering were exercised and the warrant shares were issued. These warrants have expired unexercised on January 25, 2019. The Additional Purchase Right expired on February 1, 2019. The Additional Purchase Right was considered an equity instrument accounted for as a component of the actual price per common share paid by the Investor in the private offering. For basic earnings per share, the common shares associated with the Additional Purchase Right were treated as contingently issuable shares and were not included in basic earnings per share for the year ended December 31, 2018.

 

The Stock Purchase Agreement also permits the Investor to participate in future capital raising transactions (Participation Right) on the same terms as other investors participating in such transactions. The Participation Right will expire on December 31, 2023.

 

 In no event may the Participation Right be exercised to the extent it would cause the Investor or any of its affiliates to beneficially own 20% or more of the Company’s then outstanding common stock or hold shares with 20% or more of the voting power.

 

The Company filed a registration statement to register the shares issued in this private offering and shares underlying the Additional Purchase Right. The registration statement was declared effective by the SEC on September 21, 2018.

 

Issuance of Shares of Subsidiary to Noncontrolling Interest

 

In December 2019, the Company issued shares of its subsidiary representing a 1% ownership interest to an executive. The fair value of the shares at the date of the issuance was estimated to be $6,000 and was recorded as stock based compensation expense during the year ended December 31, 2019.

 

Equity Incentive Plan

 

The ClearSign Technologies Corporation 2011 Equity Incentive Plan (the Plan) provides for the granting of options to purchase shares of common stock, stock awards to purchase shares at no less than 85% of the value of the shares, and stock bonuses to officers, employees, board members, certain consultants, and advisors. At the Company’s Annual Meeting held on May 8, 2019, the shareholders approved an amendment to the Plan that (i) increased the number of shares of common stock in the reserve by 1,231,593 to a total of 4,004,214 shares of common stock, representing approximately 15% of the number of shares of the Company’s stock outstanding and (ii) increased the number of shares that may be issued pursuant to the evergreen provision, if any, to the lesser of 15% of any new shares issued by the Company during the quarter immediately prior to the adjustment date or such lesser amount as the Board of Directors shall determine. The Compensation Committee of the Board of Directors is authorized to administer the Plan and establish the grant terms, including the grant price, vesting period and exercise date. As of December 31, 2019, the number of shares reserved for issuance under the Plan totaled 4,004,964 shares. Activity under the Plan is as follows:

 

 F-15 

 

 

   2019   2018 
Reserved but unissued shares under the Plan, beginning of year   1,296,462    191,656 
Increases in the number of authorized shares under the Plan   1,236,346    1,106,088 
Grants of stock options   (1,328,718)   (224,000)
Stock option forfeitures   77,937    337,583 
Exercise of stock options   -    - 
Stock grants   -    (114,865)
Stock grant forfeitures   -    - 
Reserved but unissued shares under the Plan, end of year   1,282,027    1,296,462 

  

Stock Options

 

In the year ended December 31, 2019, the Company made awards of stock options for the purchase of an aggregate 1,328,718 shares of common stock to its employees and directors from the Plan. Of these awards, options covering 159,100 shares of common stock were awarded in lieu of cash bonuses for 2018 and the expense was recorded during the year ended December 31, 2018. An option for the purchase of 258,618 shares of common stock was issued from the Plan to the Company’s Chief Executive Officer as part of options for the purchase of an aggregate 600,000 shares of common stock granted to him in conjunction with his recruitment and employment, as described below (see Inducement Stock Options). Options covering an additional 381,000 shares of common stock have been issued as payment to the Company’s directors and are described below. The remaining stock option awards covering 530,000 shares of common stock were granted to certain members of management. The 2019 stock option awards have exercise prices either specified at $2.25 or at the grant date fair value ranging from $0.87 to $1.21 per share, contractual lives of 10 years, and vest over a period of one to three years. The fair values of the stock options estimated on the dates of grant using the Black-Scholes option valuation model totaled $664,000.

 

In 2018, the Company awarded from the Plan to certain employees stock options for the purchase of 224,000 shares of stock. The stock options have exercise prices based on the grant date fair values ranging from $1.85 to $2.10 per share with a weighted average of $1.94 per share, a contractual life of 10 years, and vesting over three to four years.

 

As permitted by SAB 107, due to the Company’s insufficient history of option activity, management utilized the simplified approach to estimate the expected term of the options, which represents the period of time that options granted are expected to be outstanding. Expected volatility was determined through the Company’s historical stock price volatility. The Company estimated the forfeiture rate at the time of grant and will revise it, if necessary, in subsequent periods if actual forfeitures differ from those estimates. The Company recognizes compensation costs only for those equity awards that are expected to vest. The risk-free rate for periods within the contractual life of the option is based on the U.S. Treasury yield in effect at the time of grant. The Company has never declared or paid dividends and has no plans to do so in the foreseeable future. The following weighted-average assumptions were utilized in the calculation of the fair value of the stock options:

 

   2019   2018 
Expected life   5.75 years   6.20 years
Weighted average volatility   71%   70%
Forfeiture rate   20%   15%
Weighted average risk-free interest rate   2.52%   2.74%
Expected dividend rate   0%   0%

 

 F-16 

 

 

A summary of the Company’s stock option activity and related information is as follows:

 

   2019   2018 
   Options to Purchase Common Stock   Weighted Average
Exercise Price
   Weighted Average Remaining Contractual Life (in years)   Options to Purchase Common Stock   Weighted Average Exercise Price   Weighted Average Remaining Contractual Life (in years) 
Outstanding at January 1   880,277   $4.32    6.49    993,860   $4.81    6.94 
Granted   1,328,718   $1.32    9.16    224,000   $1.94    9.23 
Exercised   -    -    -    -    -    - 
Forfeited/Expired/Exchanged   (77,937)  $2.11    -    (337,583)  $4.19    - 
Outstanding at December 31   2,131,058   $2.53    7.99    880,277   $4.32    9.04 
Exercisable at December 31   1,461,073   $2.90    7.58    587,962   $5.17    6.49 

 

A summary of the status of the Company’s non-vested stock options at December 31 and changes during the year is as follows:

 

   2019   2018 
   Number of Options   Weighted Average Grant Date Fair Value   Number of Options   Weighted Average Grant Date Fair Value 
Non-vested stock options at January 1   292,315   $2.61    238,871   $4.27 
Granted   1,328,718   $1.32    224,000   $1.94 
Vested   (902,268)  $1.40    (122,647)  $4.15 
Exercised   -    -    -    - 
Forfeited/Expired/Exchanged   (48,780)  $2.14    (47,909)  $3.82 
Non-vested stock options at December 31   669,985   $1.71    292,315   $2.61 

  

The estimated aggregate pretax intrinsic value of the Company’s outstanding vested stock options at December 31, 2019 is $0. The intrinsic value is the difference between the Company’s common stock price and the option exercise prices multiplied by the number of in-the-money options. This amount changes based on the fair value of the Company’s common stock.

 

At December 31, 2019, there was $300,000 of total unrecognized compensation cost related to non-vested stock option-based compensation arrangements granted under the Plan that will be recognized over a remaining weighted average period of 1.4 years. That cost is expected to be recognized in future years as follows:

 

2020   207,000 
2021   84,000 
2022   9,000 
   $300,000 

 

 F-17 

 

 

The recognized compensation cost associated with the Plan is as follows:

 

   2019   2018 
Research and development  $174,000   $145,000 
General and administrative   394,000    79,000 
Effect on net loss  $568,000   $224,000 
Effect on net loss per share  $0.02   $0.01 

 

Stock Grants

 

In May 2018, the Company authorized shares of common stock to be issued under the Plan to its non-executive directors in accordance with board agreements. The shares were earned quarterly for service in 2018. The Company recognized $212,000, represented by 114,865 shares, in general and administrative expense through December 31, 2018. There were no such stock grants during the year ended December 31, 2019.

 

Consultant Stock Plan

 

The 2013 Consultant Stock Plan (the Consultant Plan) provides for the granting of shares of common stock to consultants who provide services related to capital raising, investor relations, and making a market in or promoting the Company’s securities. The Company’s officers, employees, and board members are not entitled to receive grants from the Consultant Plan. The Compensation Committee of the Board of Directors is authorized to administer the Consultant Plan and establish the grant terms. The number of shares reserved for issuance under the Consultant Plan on December 31, 2019 totaled 190,142 shares. The Consultant Plan provides for quarterly increases in the available number of authorized shares equal to the lesser of 1% of any new shares issued by the Company during the quarter immediately prior to the adjustment date or such lesser amount as the Board of Directors shall determine. 

 

The Company granted 7,500 shares of common stock in 2018, under the Consultant Plan to a consultant for services for the period from January 1, 2018 to September 30, 2018. The fair value of the stock at the time of grant was $3.50 per share for a total value of $26,000 in 2018, which the Company recognized in general and administrative expense. The Company also granted 10,000 shares of common stock to a second consultant under the Consultant Plan for services performed and to be performed during the period from August 13, 2018 to August 31, 2019. The fair value of the stock at the time of grant was $1.44 per share for a total value of $14,000, for which the Company recognized $4,000 for 2,500 shares in general and administrative expense on a pro-rated quarterly basis in the fourth quarter of 2018 and $10,000 in the first three quarters of 2019. The contract with the second consultant was renewed and the second consultant was granted 10,000 shares for services from September 1, 2019 through August 31, 2020. The fair value of the stock at the time of grant was $1.03 per share for a total value of $10,000. The Consultant Plan expense for 2019 and 2018 was $14,000 and $30,000, respectively.

Activity under the Consultant Plan is as follows:

 

   2019   2018 
Reserved but unissued shares under the Consultant Plan at January 1   199,705    99,159 
Increases in the number of authorized shares under the Consultant Plan   437    110,546 
Stock grants   (10,000)   (10,000)
Reserved but unissued shares under the Consultant Plan at Period End   190,142    199,705 

 

 F-18 

 

 

Inducement Stock Options

 

Pursuant to the rules of The Nasdaq Stock Market, and in compliance with those rules, the Company may issue equity awards, including stock options, as an inducement to an individual to accept employment with the Company. Inducement awards need not be approved by the Company’s shareholders. During the year ended December 31, 2019, the Company granted options to purchase 600,000 shares of common stock as an inducement to its President and Chief Executive Officer to accept the Company’s offer of employment. (See Note 11.) The stock options have exercise prices ranging from $1.16 to $2.25 per share, contractual lives of 10 years, and vest over 2 years. An option to purchase 258,618 shares was issued from the Company’s 2011 Equity Incentive Plan and are accounted for with the stock options described above. Non-qualified stock options covering the remaining 341,382 shares were issued from the Company’s reserve of authorized but unissued shares of common stock. The fair value of the non-qualified stock options estimated on the date of grant using the Black-Scholes option valuation model was $176,000. The recognized compensation expense associated with these awards for the year ended December 31, 2019 was $111,000. The remaining unrecognized compensation expense associated with these awards is $65,000. The following weighted-average assumptions were utilized in the calculation of the fair value of the stock options:

 

   2019   
Expected life   5.75years  
Weighted average volatility   71%  
Forfeiture rate   20%  
Weighted average risk-free interest rate   2.55%  
Expected dividend rate   0%  

 

Warrants

 

A summary of the Company’s warrant activity and related information is as follows:

 

   2019   2018 
   Warrants   Weighted Average Exercise Price   Warrants   Weighted Average Exercise Price 
Outstanding at January 1   2,495,784   $3.98    2,495,784   $3.98 
Granted   -    -    -    - 
Exercised   -    -    -    - 
Forfeited/Expired   (2,415,784)  $4.05    -    - 
Outstanding at December 31   80,000   $1.80    2,495,784   $3.98 

 

The following table summarizes the number of warrants, the weighted average exercise price, and weighted average life (in years) by price for both total outstanding warrants and total exercisable warrants at December 31, 2019:

 

   Total Outstanding Warrants 
Exercise Price  Warrants   Wtd. Avg. Exercise Price  

Remaining Life

(in years)

 
$1.80   80,000   $1.80    1.14 

 

The intrinsic value of the outstanding warrants was $0 at December 31, 2019.

 

 F-19 

 

 

Note 9 – Retirement Plan

 

The Company has a defined contribution retirement plan covering all of its employees whereby the Company matches employee contributions up to 3% of each employee’s 2019 and 2018 earnings. The Company’s matching contribution expense totaled $58,000 and $85,000 in 2019 and 2018, respectively.

 

Note 10 – Related Party Transactions

 

In November 2018, one of the Company’s shareholders, who is also a co-founder and member of MDB Capital Group LLC, filed a draft solicitation statement with the SEC seeking the support of the Company’s shareholders in making a demand that the Company call a special meeting of its shareholders. In January 2019, the Company entered into a Cooperation Agreement with this shareholder pursuant to which the shareholder withdrew his request to hold a special meeting. The Cooperation Agreement among other things, includes certain standstill provisions.  The term of the Cooperation agreement will continue until the earlier of (i) the day immediately following the date of 2020 annual meeting or (ii) December 31, 2020. Pursuant to the terms of the Cooperation Agreement the Company reimbursed the shareholder $40,000 for expenses, which is included in accounts payable and accrued liabilities at December 31, 2018. Costs incurred in connection with this matter, including the amount reimbursed to the shareholder, were recorded in general and administrative expenses and totaled approximately $101,000 and $364,000 for the years ended December 31, 2019 and 2018, respectively.

  

Note 11 – Commitments and Contingencies

 

On January 28, 2019 (the “Effective Date”), the Company and Colin James Deller entered into an employment agreement (the “Agreement”) pursuant to which the Company employed Dr. Deller as its President until April 1, 2019, at which time Dr. Deller became the Company’s Chief Executive Officer. Pursuant to the Agreement, the Company pays Dr. Deller an annual salary of $350,000. As an inducement to accept employment with the Company, Dr. Deller was also granted an option to purchase 400,000 shares of the Company’s common stock at an exercise price of $1.16 per share and an option to purchase 200,000 shares of the Company’s common stock at an exercise price of $2.25 per share. Each option has a term of 10 years and will vest as follows: the right to purchase one-third of the shares of common stock subject to the option vested on the Effective Date; the right to purchase one-third of the shares will vest on the first anniversary of the grant date; and the right to purchase one-third of the shares will vest on the second anniversary of the grant date. The Company also agreed to pay certain expenses, not to exceed the sum of $100,000, related to Dr. Deller’s move from Tulsa, Oklahoma to Seattle, Washington, including reasonable expenses related to the sale of his home in Tulsa. As a temporary adjustment for the difference in the cost of living between Tulsa and Seattle (the “Relocation Adjustment”), for a period of four years (the “Payment Period”) from the Effective Date, the Company has also agreed to pay up to $6,000 a month to Dr. Deller for expenses related to temporary housing and travel to and from Tulsa to Seattle. If Dr. Deller purchases a home in the Seattle area, the Relocation Adjustment will continue to be paid through the expiration of the Payment Period, although the Relocation Adjustment may be adjusted or terminated upon mutual agreement of Dr. Deller and the Company. The Agreement may be terminated by the Company for cause, as defined in the Agreement, due to Dr. Deller’s death or disability, upon 30 days’ notice to Dr. Deller or as a result of a change in control, as defined in the Agreement. With the exception of a termination for cause, if Dr. Deller’s employment is terminated by the Company, aside from accrued but unpaid salary, bonus (if any) and business expenses, Dr. Deller will receive the balance of the unpaid Relocation Adjustment and six months of his annual salary.

 

Through December 31, 2019, the Company has paid Dr. Deller $33,000 in Relocation Adjustment payments to reimburse temporary housing costs.

  

Litigation

From time to time the Company may become involved in various lawsuits and legal proceedings which arise in the ordinary course of business. Litigation is subject to inherent uncertainties and an adverse result in any such matter may harm the Company’s business. As of the date of these financial statements, the Company is not a party to any material pending legal proceedings.

 

 F-20 

 

 

Indemnification Agreements

 

The Company maintains indemnification agreements with its directors and officers that may require the Company to indemnify these individuals against liabilities that arise by reason of their status or service as directors or officers, except as prohibited by law.

 

Note 12 – Quarterly Results (unaudited)

 

Quarterly results for the years ended December 31, 2019 and 2018 are as follows:

 

   First   Second   Third   Fourth 
For the year ended December 31, 2019  Quarter   Quarter   Quarter   Quarter 
Revenue  $-   $-   $-   $- 
Gross Profit (Loss)  $(1,000)  $-   $-   $- 
Operating Expense  $2,376,000   $2,447,000   $2,138,000   $1,621,000 
Net loss attributed to common stockholders  $(2,329,000)  $(2,426,000)  $(2,108,000)  $(1,616,000)
Net Loss per share - basic and fully diluted  $(0.09)  $(0.09)  $(0.08)  $(0.06)
                     
For the year ended December 31, 2018                    
Revenue  $530,000   $-   $-   $- 
Gross Profit (Loss)  $135,000   $(20,000)  $(9,000)  $(3,000)
Operating Expense  $2,413,000   $2,370,000   $2,306,000   $2,585,000 
Net loss attributed to common stockholders  $(2,278,000)  $(2,389,000)  $(2,292,000)  $(2,541,000)
Net Loss per share - basic and fully diluted  $(0.13)  $(0.11)  $(0.09)  $(0.10)

 

Note 13 – Subsequent Events

 

NASDAQ Listing Requirements

 

On January 15, 2020, the Company received a letter from The Nasdaq Stock Market LLC ("Nasdaq") indicating that, based upon the closing bid price of the Company's common stock for the previous 30 consecutive business days, the common stock did not meet the minimum bid price of $1.00 per share required for continued listing on the Nasdaq Capital Market pursuant to Nasdaq Marketplace Rule 5550(a)(2). The letter also indicates that the Company will be provided with a compliance period of 180 calendar days, or until July 13, 2020, in which to regain compliance, pursuant to Nasdaq Marketplace Rule 5810(c)(3)(A). The letter further indicates that if, at any time during the 180-day compliance period, the closing bid price of the common stock is at least $1.00 for a minimum of ten consecutive business days, Nasdaq will provide the Company with written confirmation that it has achieved compliance with the minimum bid price requirement. The Company intends to continue to monitor the bid price levels for the common stock, and will consider appropriate alternatives to achieve compliance within the 180-day compliance period or any extension thereof.

 

Coronavirus Impacts

 

In March 2020, the World Health Organization declared the outbreak of a novel coronavirus (“COVID-19”) as a pandemic, which continues to spread throughout the United States.  The ultimate extent of the impact of COVID-19 on the financial performance of the Company will depend on future developments, including the duration and spread of COVID-19, and the overall economy, all of which are highly uncertain and cannot be predicted.  If the financial markets and/or the overall economy are impacted for an extended period, the Company's operating results may be materially and adversely affected.

 

 F-21 

 

 

ITEM 9: CHANGES IN AND DISAGREEMENTS WITH ACCOUNTANTS ON ACCOUNTING AND FINANCIAL DISCLOSURE

 

None.

 

ITEM 9A: CONTROLS AND PROCEDURES

 

Disclosure controls and procedures include, without limitation, controls and procedures designed to ensure that information required to be disclosed by an issuer in the reports that it files or submits under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended (the “Act”) is accumulated and communicated to the issuer’s management, including its principal executive and principal financial officers, or persons performing similar functions, as appropriate to allow timely decisions regarding required disclosure.

 

Report on Controls and Procedures

 

We carried out an evaluation, under the supervision and with the participation of our management, including our chief executive officer (our principal executive officer) and our chief financial officer (our principal financial and accounting officer), of the effectiveness of the design and operation of our disclosure controls and procedures as of the end of the period covered by this report. The evaluation was undertaken in consultation with our accounting personnel. Based on that evaluation, our chief executive officer and our chief financial officer concluded that our disclosure controls and procedures are effective to ensure that information required to be disclosed by us in the reports that we file or submit under the Act is recorded, processed, summarized and reported within the time periods specified in the Securities and Exchange Commission’s rules and forms.

 

Report on Internal Control over Financial Reporting

 

Our chief executive officer and our chief financial officer are responsible for establishing and maintaining internal control over financial reporting. Internal control over financial reporting is defined in Rule 13a-15(f) and 15d-15(f) promulgated under the Act as a process designed by, or under the supervision of, our principal executive and principal financial officers and effected by our board of directors, management and other personnel, to provide reasonable assurance regarding the reliability of financial reporting and the preparation of financial statements for external purposes in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles and includes those policies and procedures that:

 

  · pertain to the maintenance of records that in reasonable detail accurately and fairly reflect the transactions and dispositions of our assets;

 

  · provide reasonable assurance that transactions are recorded as necessary to permit preparation of financial statements in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles, and that our receipts and expenditures are being made only in accordance with authorizations of management and our directors; and

 

  · provide reasonable assurance regarding prevention or timely detection of unauthorized acquisition, use or disposition of our assets that could have a material effect on the financial statements.

 

Because of its inherent limitations, our internal control over financial reporting may not prevent or detect misstatements. Therefore, even those systems determined to be effective can provide only reasonable assurance with respect to financial statement preparation and presentation. Projections of any evaluation of effectiveness to future periods are subject to the risk that controls may become inadequate because of changes in conditions, or that the degree of compliance with the policies or procedures may deteriorate.

 

Our chief executive officer and our chief financial officer assessed the effectiveness of our internal control over financial reporting as of December 31, 2019. In making this assessment, management used the criteria set forth by the Committee of Sponsoring Organizations of the Treadway Commission (COSO) in Internal Control—Integrated Framework.

 

Based on our assessment, our chief executive officer and our chief financial officer determined that, as of December 31, 2019, our internal control over financial reporting is effective.

 

Changes in Internal Control over Financial Reporting

 

There have been no changes in our internal control over financial reporting (as such term is defined in Rules 13a-15(f) and 15d-15 (f) under the Act) during the fourth quarter of the last fiscal year that have materially affected, or are reasonably likely to materially affect, our internal control over financial reporting.

 

 28 

 

 

ITEM 9B: OTHER INFORMATION

 

None.

PART III

  

Item 10: Directors, Executive Officers and corporate governance

 

The information concerning the Company’s Code of Business Conduct and Ethics is set forth below in this Item 10. All other information required by this item is incorporated by reference to the Company’s Proxy Statement for the 2020 Annual Meeting of Shareholders to be filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) within 120 days of the fiscal year ended December 31, 2019.

 

Code of Business Conduct and Ethics

 

The Board of Directors has adopted a code of business conduct and ethics (the Code) designed, in part, to deter wrongdoing and to promote honest and ethical conduct, including the ethical handling of actual or apparent conflicts of interest between personal and professional relationships, full, fair, accurate, timely and understandable disclosure in reports and documents that the Company files with or submits to the SEC and in the Company’s other public communications, compliance with applicable governmental laws, rules and regulations, the prompt internal reporting of Code violations to an appropriate person or persons, as identified in the Code and accountability for adherence to the Code. The Code applies to all directors, executive officers and employees of the Company. The Code may be found on the Company’s website at www.clearsign.com.

 

The Company intends to disclose any amendments to or waivers of its code of ethics as it applies to directors or executive officers by disclosing them on Form 8-K.

  

Item 11: Executive Compensation

 

The information required by this item is incorporated by reference to the Company’s Proxy Statement for the 2020 Annual Meeting of Shareholders to be filed with the SEC within 120 days of the fiscal year ended December 31, 2019.

 

Item 12: Security Ownership of Certain Beneficial Owners and Management AND RELATED SHAREHOLDER MATTERS

 

The information concerning the Company’s equity compensation plan is set forth below in this Item 12. All other information required by this item is incorporated by reference to the Company’s Proxy Statement for the 2020 Annual Meeting of Shareholders to be filed with the SEC within 120 days of the fiscal year ended December 31, 2019.

 

Equity Compensation Plan Information

 

The table below provides information as of December 31, 2019 regarding the compensation plans (2011 Equity Incentive Plan and 2013 Consultant Stock Plan) under which the Company’s equity securities are authorized for issuance.

 

 29 

 

 

Plan Category  Number of securities to be issued upon exercise of outstanding options, warrants and rights
(a)
   Weighted-average exercise price of outstanding options, warrants and rights
(b)
   Number of securities remaining available for future issuance under equity compensation plans (excluding securities reflected in column a)   
(c)
 
Equity compensation plans               
approved by security holders   2,211,058   $2.50    1,472,169 
Equity compensation plans not               
not approved by security holders   -    -    - 
    2,211,058   $2.50    1,472,169 

 

The above table excludes vested stock grants of 591,879 and 63,250 shares under the 2011 Equity Incentive Plan and the 2013 Consultant Stock Plan, respectively.

 

In January 2011, our shareholders approved the ClearSign Technologies Corporation 2011 Equity Incentive Plan that provides for the granting of options to purchase shares of common stock, stock awards to purchase shares at no less than 85% of the value of the shares, and stock bonuses to officers, employees, board members, certain consultants, and advisors. The Compensation Committee of the Board of Directors is authorized to administer the Plan and establish the grant terms, including the grant price, vesting period and exercise date. The Plan provides for quarterly increases in the available number of authorized shares equal to the lesser of 15% of any new shares issued by the Company during the quarter immediately prior to the adjustment date or such lesser amount as the Board of Directors shall determine.

 

In May 2013, the shareholders approved the 2013 Consultant Stock Plan that provides for the granting of shares of common stock to consultants who provide services related to capital raising, investor relations, and making a market in or promoting the Company’s securities. The Company’s officers, employees, and board members are not entitled to receive grants from the Consultant Plan. The Compensation Committee of the Board of Directors is authorized to administer the Consultant Plan and establish the grant terms. The Consultant Plan provides for quarterly increases in the available number of authorized shares equal to the lesser of 1% of any new shares issued by the Company during the quarter immediately prior to the adjustment date or such lesser amount as the Board of Directors shall determine. 

  

Item 13: Certain Relationships and Related Transactions, AND DIRECTOR INDEPENDENCE

 

The information required by this item is incorporated by reference to the Company’s Proxy Statement for the 2020 Annual Meeting of Shareholders to be filed with the SEC within 120 days of the fiscal year ended December 31, 2019.

  

ITEM 14: PRINCIPAL ACCOUNTANT FEES AND SERVICES

 

The information required by this item is incorporated by reference to the Company’s Proxy Statement for the 2020 Annual Meeting of Shareholders to be filed with the SEC within 120 days of the fiscal year ended December 31, 2019.

 

 30 

 

  

PART IV

  

Item 15. Exhibits, Financial Statement Schedules

 

15(a) (1) Consolidated Financial Statements

The financial statements filed as part of this report are listed and indexed in the Index to Consolidated Financial Statements included at Item 8. Financial statement schedules have been omitted because they are not applicable, or the required information has been included elsewhere in this report.

  

15(a) (2) Financial Statement Schedules

Not applicable.

 

15 (a) (3) Exhibits

The exhibits filed as part of this Annual Report on Form 10-K are listed in the Exhibit Table below. The Company has identified in the Exhibit Table each management contract and compensation plan filed as an exhibit to this Annual Report on Form 10-K in response to Item 15(a) (3) of Form 10-K.

  

Exhibit

No.

  Description of Document
3.1   Articles of Incorporation of ClearSign Technologies Corporation (1)
3.2   Bylaws of ClearSign Technologies Corporation (2)
3.2.1   Amendment to Bylaws (3)
4.1   Form of Common Stock Certificate (4)
4.2   Description of the Registrant’s Securities Registered Pursuant to Section 12 of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934*
10.1   Office Lease Agreement (2)
10.2   Form of Confidentiality and Proprietary Rights Agreement (2)
10.3   ClearSign Technologies Corporation 2011 Equity Incentive Plan (2)+
10.4   Form of Director and Officer Indemnification Agreement (2)+
10.5   ClearSign Combustion Corporation 2013 Consultant Stock Plan (5)
10.6   First Amendment to Office Lease Agreement dated December 17, 2013 (6)
10.7   Second Amendment to Office Lease Agreement dated September 29, 2016 (7)
10.8   Consulting Agreement dated January 4, 2019 between the registrant and Roberto Ruiz (8)
10.9   Third Amendment to Office Lease Agreement dated July 18, 2019 (9)
10.10   Employment Agreement dated January 28, 2019 between the registrant and Colin James Deller (10)+
10.11   Stock Purchase Agreement dated July 12, 2018 between the registrant and CLIRSPV, LLC (11)
21   Subsidiaries of the registrant (7)
23.1   Consent of Gumbiner Savett Inc., Independent Registered Public Accounting Firm*
31.1   Certification of the Principal Executive Officer pursuant to Section 302 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002*
31.2   Certification of the Principal Financial Officer pursuant to Section 302 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002*
32.1   Certification of the Principal Executive Officer and Principal Financial Officer pursuant to Section 906 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002**
101.INS   XBRL Instance Document*
101.SCH   XBRL Taxonomy Extension Schema*
101.CAL   XBRL Taxonomy Extension Calculation Linkbase*
101.DEF   XBRL Taxonomy Extension Definition Linkbase*
101.LAB   XBRL Taxonomy Extension Label Linkbase*
101.PRE   XBRL Taxonomy Extension Presentation Linkbase*

 

*Filed herewith.

 

**Furnished herewith.

 

+Agreement with management or compensatory plan or arrangement

 

 31 

 

 

(1)Incorporated by reference from the registrant’s Form 10-Q for the quarter ended September 30, 2019 filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission on November 13, 2019.
(2)Incorporated by reference from the registrant’s registration statement on Form S-1, as amended, file number 333-177946, originally filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission on November 14, 2011.
(3)Incorporated by reference from the registrant’s Current Report on Form 8-K filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission on June 12, 2019.
(4)Incorporated by reference from the registrant’s Annual Report on Form 10-K filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission on February 26, 2015.
(5)Incorporated by reference from the registrant’s Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q for the quarter ended March 31, 2013, filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission on May 6, 2013.
(6)Incorporated by reference from the registrant’s Annual Report on Form 10-K filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission on March 11, 2014.
(7)Incorporated by reference from the registrant’s Annual Report on Form 10-K filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission on March 12, 2019.
(8)Incorporated by reference from the registrant’s Current Report on Form 8-K filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission on January 10, 2019.
(9)Incorporated by reference from the registrant’s Current Report on Form 8-K filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission on August 28, 2019.
(10)Incorporated by reference from the registrant’s Current Report on Form 8-K filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission on January 30, 2019.
(11)Incorporated by reference from the registrant’s Current Report on Form 8-K filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission on July 17, 2018.

  

 32 

 

 

SIGNATURES

 

Pursuant to the requirements of Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, the registrant has duly caused this report to be signed on its behalf by the undersigned, thereunto duly authorized.  

  

 

  CLEARSIGN TECHNOLOGIES CORPORATION
       
 Date: March 30, 2020 By: /s/ Colin J. Deller  
    Colin J. Deller  
    Chief Executive Officer  
       
       
Date: March 30, 2020 By: /s/ Brian G. Fike  
    Brian G. Fike  
    Chief Financial Officer  

  

Pursuant to the requirements of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, this report has been signed below by the following persons on behalf of the registrant and in the capacities and on the dates indicated.

 

Date: March 30, 2020   /s/ Colin J. Deller  
    Colin J. Deller  
    Chief Executive Officer and Director  
    (Principal Executive Officer)  
       
       
Date: March 30, 2020   /s/ Brian G. Fike  
    Brian G. Fike  
    Chief Financial Officer  
    (Principal Financial and Accounting Officer)  
       
       
Date: March 30, 2020   /s/ Lon E. Bell  
    Lon E. Bell, Ph.D., Director  
       
       
Date: March 30, 2020   /s/ Robert T. Hoffman  
    Robert T. Hoffman, Director  
       
       
Date: March 30, 2020   /s/ Susanne L. Meline  
    Susanne L. Meline, Director  
       
       
Date: March 30, 2020   /s/ Bruce A. Pate  
    Bruce A. Pate, Director  

  

 33 

 

 

Exhibit 4.2

 

DESCRIPTION OF THE REGISTRANT’S SECURITIES

REGISTERED PURSUANT TO SECTION 12 OF THE

SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934

 

ClearSign Technologies Corporation has 64,500,000 shares of capital stock authorized under our articles of incorporation, consisting of 62,500,000 shares of common stock and 2,000,000 shares of preferred stock. We have no preferred stock outstanding.

 

Our authorized but unissued shares of common stock are available for issuance without further action by our shareholders, unless such action is required by applicable law or the rules of any stock exchange or automated quotation system on which our securities are, or may become, listed or traded.

 

Holders of our common stock are entitled to such dividends as may be declared by our board of directors out of funds legally available for such purpose, subject to any preferential dividend rights of any then outstanding preferred stock. The shares of common stock are neither redeemable nor convertible. With the exception of one shareholder who, until December 31, 2023 has the right to participate in future offerings of our common stock, holders of common stock have no preemptive or subscription rights to purchase any of our securities.

 

Each holder of our common stock is entitled to one vote for each such share outstanding in the holder’s name. No holder of common stock is entitled to cumulate votes in voting for directors.

 

In the event of our liquidation, dissolution or winding up, the holders of our common stock are entitled to receive pro rata our assets that are legally available for distribution, after payments of all debts and other liabilities and subject to the prior rights of any holders of preferred stock then outstanding.

 

 

 

Exhibit 23.1 

 

 

 

 

CONSENT OF INDEPENDENT REGISTERED PUBLIC ACCOUNTING FIRM

 

We hereby consent to the incorporation by reference in Form S-3 registration statements (File Nos. 333-188381, 333-208784, 333-227169 and 333-232402) and Form S-8 registration statements (File Nos. 333-184884, 333-204129 and 333-228267) of ClearSign Technologies Corporation of our report dated March 30, 2020 with respect to the audited consolidated financial statements of ClearSign Technologies Corporation and subsidiary for the years ended December 31, 2019 and 2018. Our report contains an emphasis of matter paragraph regarding the Company’s liquidity.

 

 

/s/ Gumbiner Savett Inc.

 

March 30, 2020

Santa Monica, California

 

 

 

 Exhibit 31.1

 

CERTIFICATION

 

I, Colin J. Deller, certify that:

 

1.   I have reviewed this annual report on Form 10-K of ClearSign Technologies Corporation;
     
2.   Based on my knowledge, this report does not contain any untrue statement of a material fact or omit to state a material fact necessary to make the statements made, in light of the circumstances under which such statements were made, not misleading with respect to the period covered by this report;
     
3.   Based on my knowledge, the financial statements, and other financial information included in this report, fairly present in all material respects the financial condition, results of operations and cash flows of the registrant as of, and for, the periods presented in this report;
     
4.   The registrant’s other certifying officer(s) and I are responsible for establishing and maintaining disclosure controls and procedures (as defined in Exchange Act Rules 13a-15(e) and 15-d-15(e)) and internal control over financial reporting (as defined in Exchange Act Rules 13a-15(f) and 15d-15(f)) for the registrant and have:
     
    a) Designed such disclosure controls and procedures, or caused such disclosure controls and procedures to be designed under our supervision, to ensure that material information relating to the registrant, including its consolidated subsidiaries, is made known to us by others within those entities, particularly during the period in which this report is being prepared;
       
    b) Designed such internal control over financial reporting, or caused such internal control over financial reporting to be designed under our supervision, to provide reasonable assurance regarding the reliability of financial reporting and the preparation of financial statements for external purposes in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles;
       
    c) Evaluated the effectiveness of the registrant’s disclosure controls and procedures and presented in this report our conclusions about the effectiveness of the disclosure controls and procedures, as of the end of the period covered by this report based on such evaluation; and
       
    d) Disclosed in this report any change in the registrant’s internal control over financial reporting that occurred during the registrant’s most recent fiscal quarter (the registrant’s fourth fiscal quarter in the case of an annual report) that has materially affected, or is reasonably likely to materially affect, the registrant’s internal control over financial reporting; and
     
5.   The registrant’s other certifying officer(s) and I have disclosed, based on our most recent evaluation of internal control over financial reporting, to the registrant’s auditors and the audit committee of the registrant’s board of directors (or persons performing the equivalent functions):
     
    a) All significant deficiencies and material weaknesses in the design or operation of internal control over financial reporting which are reasonably likely to adversely affect the registrant’s ability to record, process, summarize and report financial information; and
       
    b) Any fraud, whether or not material, that involves management or other employees who have a significant role in the registrant’s internal control over financial reporting.

 

  Date: March 30, 2020
   
  /s/ Colin J. Deller  
  Colin J. Deller  
  Chief Executive Officer (Principal Executive Officer)  

 

 

 

Exhibit 31.2

 

CERTIFICATION

 

I, Brian G. Fike, certify that:

 

1.   I have reviewed this annual report on Form 10-K of ClearSign Technologies Corporation;
     
2.   Based on my knowledge, this report does not contain any untrue statement of a material fact or omit to state a material fact necessary to make the statements made, in light of the circumstances under which such statements were made, not misleading with respect to the period covered by this report;
     
3.   Based on my knowledge, the financial statements, and other financial information included in this report, fairly present in all material respects the financial condition, results of operations and cash flows of the registrant as of, and for, the periods presented in this report;
     
4.   The registrant’s other certifying officer(s) and I are responsible for establishing and maintaining disclosure controls and procedures (as defined in Exchange Act Rules 13a-15(e) and 15-d-15(e)) and internal control over financial reporting (as defined in Exchange Act Rules 13a-15(f) and 15d-15(f)) for the registrant and have:
     
    a) Designed such disclosure controls and procedures, or caused such disclosure controls and procedures to be designed under our supervision, to ensure that material information relating to the registrant, including its consolidated subsidiaries, is made known to us by others within those entities, particularly during the period in which this report is being prepared;
       
    b) Designed such internal control over financial reporting, or caused such internal control over financial reporting to be designed under our supervision, to provide reasonable assurance regarding the reliability of financial reporting and the preparation of financial statements for external purposes in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles;
       
    c) Evaluated the effectiveness of the registrant’s disclosure controls and procedures and presented in this report our conclusions about the effectiveness of the disclosure controls and procedures, as of the end of the period covered by this report based on such evaluation; and
       
    d) Disclosed in this report any change in the registrant’s internal control over financial reporting that occurred during the registrant’s most recent fiscal quarter (the registrant’s fourth fiscal quarter in the case of an annual report) that has materially affected, or is reasonably likely to materially affect, the registrant’s internal control over financial reporting; and
     
5.   The registrant’s other certifying officer(s) and I have disclosed, based on our most recent evaluation of internal control over financial reporting, to the registrant’s auditors and the audit committee of the registrant’s board of directors (or persons performing the equivalent functions):
     
    a) All significant deficiencies and material weaknesses in the design or operation of internal control over financial reporting which are reasonably likely to adversely affect the registrant’s ability to record, process, summarize and report financial information; and
       
    b) Any fraud, whether or not material, that involves management or other employees who have a significant role in the registrant’s internal control over financial reporting.

 

  Date: March 30, 2020
   
  /s/ Brian G. Fike  
  Brian G. Fike  
 

Chief Financial Officer (Principal Financial and Accounting Officer)

 

 

 

 

 

Exhibit 32.1

 

CERTIFICATION

 

In connection with the periodic report of ClearSign Technologies Corporation (the “Company”) on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2019 as filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission (the “Report”), we, Colin J. Deller, Chief Executive Officer (Principal Executive Officer) and Brian G. Fike, Chief Financial Officer (Principal Financial and Accounting Officer) of the Company, hereby certify as of the date hereof, solely for purposes of Title 18, Chapter 63, Section 1350 of the United States Code, that to the best of our knowledge:

 

(1)       The Report fully complies with the requirements of Section 13(a) or 15(d), as applicable, of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, and

 

(2)       The information contained in the Report fairly presents, in all material respects, the financial condition and results of operations of the Company at the dates and for the periods indicated.

 

 

  Date: March 30, 2020  
     
  /s/ Colin J. Deller  
  Colin J. Deller  
  Chief Executive Officer (Principal Executive Officer)  
     
  /s/ Brian G. Fike  
  Brian G. Fike  
  Chief Financial Officer (Principal Financial and Accounting Officer)  

 

The foregoing certification is being furnished solely pursuant to 18 U.S.C. Section 1350 and is not being filed as part of this report

 

 

v3.20.1
Equity (Tables)
12 Months Ended
Dec. 31, 2019
Schedule of weighted-average assumptions used in calculation of fair value of stock options

The following weighted-average assumptions were utilized in the calculation of the fair value of the stock options:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2019

 

2018

 

Expected life

    

5.75 years

    

6.20 years

 

Weighted average volatility

 

71

%

70

%

Forfeiture rate

 

20

%

15

%

Weighted average risk-free interest rate

 

2.52

%

2.74

%

Expected dividend rate

 

 0

%

 0

%

 

Summary of status of non-vested stock options

A summary of the status of the Company’s non-vested stock options at December 31 and changes during the year is as follows:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2019

    

2018

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

    

Weighted

    

 

    

Weighted

 

 

 

 

Average

 

 

 

Average

 

 

Number of

 

Grant Date

 

Number of

 

Grant Date

 

    

Options

    

Fair Value

    

Options

    

Fair Value

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Non-vested stock options at January 1

 

292,315

 

$

2.61

 

238,871

 

$

4.27

Granted

 

1,328,718

 

$

1.32

 

224,000

 

$

1.94

Vested

 

(902,268)

 

$

1.40

 

(122,647)

 

$

4.15

Exercised

 

 —

 

 

 —

 

 —

 

 

 —

Forfeited/Expired/Exchanged

 

(48,780)

 

$

2.14

 

(47,909)

 

$

3.82

Non-vested stock options at December 31

 

669,985

 

$

1.71

 

292,315

 

$

2.61

 

Schedule of unrecognized compensation cost

At December 31, 2019, there was $300,000 of total unrecognized compensation cost related to non-vested stock option-based compensation arrangements granted under the Plan that will be recognized over a remaining weighted average period of 1.4 years. That cost is expected to be recognized in future years as follows:

 

 

 

 

 

2020

 

 

207,000

2021

 

 

84,000

2022

 

 

9,000

 

 

$

300,000

 

Schedule of recognized compensation cost

The recognized compensation cost associated with the Plan is as follows:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

    

2019

    

2018

Research and development

 

$

174,000

 

$

145,000

General and administrative

 

 

394,000

 

 

79,000

Effect on net loss

 

$

568,000

 

$

224,000

Effect on net loss per share

 

$

0.02

 

$

0.01

 

Summary of warrants outstanding

The following table summarizes the number of warrants, the weighted average exercise price, and weighted average life (in years) by price for both total outstanding warrants and total exercisable warrants at December 31,2019:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Total Outstanding Warrants

 

 

 

 

Wtd. Avg.

 

Remaining

 

 

 

 

Exercise

 

Life

Exercise Price

    

Warrants

    

Price

    

(in years)

$1.80

 

80,000

 

$

1.80

 

1.14

 

Equity Incentive Plan [Member]  
Schedule of share-based compensation activity

Activity under the Plan is as follows:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

    

2019

    

2018

Reserved but unissued shares under the Plan, beginning of year

 

1,296,462

 

191,656

Increases in the number of authorized shares under the Plan

 

1,236,346

 

1,106,088

Grants of stock options

 

(1,328,718)

 

(224,000)

Stock option forfeitures

 

77,937

 

337,583

Exercise of stock options

 

 —

 

 —

Stock grants

 

 —

 

(114,865)

Stock grant forfeitures

 

 —

 

 —

Reserved but unissued shares under the Plan, end of year

 

1,282,027

 

1,296,462

 

Warrant [Member]  
Schedule Of warrant activity

A summary of the Company’s warrant activity and related information is as follows:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2019

 

2018

 

    

 

    

Weighted

    

 

    

Weighted

 

 

 

 

Average

 

 

 

Average

 

 

 

 

Exercise

 

 

 

Exercise

 

 

Warrants

 

Price

 

Warrants

 

Price

Outstanding at January 1

 

2,495,784

 

$

3.98

 

2,495,784

 

$

3.98

Granted

 

 —

 

 

 —

 

 —

 

 

 —

Exercised

 

 —

 

 

 —

 

 —

 

 

 —

Forfeited/Expired

 

(2,415,784)

 

$

4.05

 

 —

 

 

 —

Outstanding at December 31

 

80,000

 

$

1.80

 

2,495,784

 

$

3.98

 

Stock Options [Member]  
Schedule of stock option activity

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2019

 

2018

 

Expected life

    

5.75 years

    

6.20 years

 

Weighted average volatility

 

71

%

70

%

Forfeiture rate

 

20

%

15

%

Weighted average risk-free interest rate

 

2.52

%

2.74

%

Expected dividend rate

 

 0

%

 0

%

 

A summary of the Company’s stock option activity and related information is as follows:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2019

 

2018

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Weighted

 

 

 

 

 

 

Weighted

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Average

 

 

 

 

 

 

Average

 

 

Options to

 

Weighted

 

Remaining

 

Options to

 

Weighted

 

Remaining

 

 

Purchase

 

Average

 

Contractual

 

Purchase

 

Average

 

Contractual

 

 

Common

 

Exercise

 

Life (in

 

Common

 

Exercise

 

Life (in

 

    

Stock

    

Price

    

years)

    

Stock

    

Price

    

years)

Outstanding at January 1

 

880,277

 

$

4.32

 

6.49

 

993,860

 

$

4.81

 

6.94

Granted

 

1,328,718

 

$

1.32

 

9.16

 

224,000

 

$

1.94

 

9.23

Exercised

 

 —

 

 

 —

 

 —

 

 —

 

 

 —

 

 —

Forfeited/Expired/Exchanged

 

(77,937)

 

$

2.11

 

 —

 

(337,583)

 

$

4.19

 

 —

Outstanding at December 31

 

2,131,058

 

$

2.53

 

7.99

 

880,277

 

$

4.32

 

9.04

Exercisable at December 31

 

1,461,073

 

$

2.90

 

7.58

 

587,962

 

$

5.17

 

6.49

 

Inducement Stock Options [Member]  
Schedule of weighted-average assumptions used in calculation of fair value of stock options

The following weighted-average assumptions were utilized in the calculation of the fair value of the stock options:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2019

 

Expected life

    

5.75

years

Weighted average volatility

 

71

%  

Forfeiture rate

 

20

%  

Weighted average risk-free interest rate

 

2.55

%  

Expected dividend rate

 

 0

%  

 

Consultant Plan [Member]  
Schedule of share-based compensation activity

Activity under the Consultant Plan is as follows:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

    

2019

    

2018

Reserved but unissued shares under the Consultant Plan at January 1

 

199,705

 

99,159

Increases in the number of authorized shares under the Consultant Plan

 

437

 

110,546

Stock grants

 

(10,000)

 

(10,000)

Reserved but unissued shares under the Consultant Plan at Period End

 

190,142

 

199,705

 

v3.20.1
Fixed Assets (Tables)
12 Months Ended
Dec. 31, 2019
Fixed Assets  
Summary of Fixed Assets

Fixed assets are summarized as follows:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

December 31, 

 

    

2019

    

2018

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Machinery and equipment

 

$

762,000

 

$

853,000

Office furniture and equipment

 

 

180,000

 

 

186,000

Leasehold improvements

 

 

149,000

 

 

150,000

Right of use asset-operating leases

 

 

1,140,000

 

 

637,000

Accumulated depreciation and amortization

 

 

(1,566,000)

 

 

(1,369,000)

 

 

$

665,000

 

$

457,000

 

Schedule Of Leases Cost

Lease costs for the years ended December 31, 2019 and 2018 and other quantitative disclosures are as follows:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For the year ended December 31, 

 

 

    

2019

    

2018

 

Lease cost:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Operating lease cost

 

$

238,000

 

$

218,000

 

Total lease cost

 

$

238,000

 

$

218,000