Francisco Pacheco

The Pacheco hydrogen fuel generator


In 1942, Bolivian inventor Francisco Pacheco invented a device that turns sea water into clean, combustible hydrogen on demand. His first experiment involved a small unit which produced enough fuel to boil water. From there, he took his hydrogen fuel generator and used it to run a motorcycle.

U.S. Vice President, Henry Wallace and the president of Bolivia, General Enrique Penaranda encouraged Francisco to bring his invention to the United States. Arrived in the U.S. with a letter addressed to the Chief Military Intelligence Service of the United States War Department from Colonel Clarence Barnett from the American Embassy. Pacheco successfully demonstrated his generator to the Bureau of Standards in Washington DC and applied for a U.S. patent. Because there was war all U.S. patents had to be sealed for one year. After the year was up, Pacheco received a letter from the patent office stating that because of the high cost of aluminum and magnesium his patent was impractical. He went home to Bolivia but shortly thereafter returned to the United States.

In1967, he moved his family to Upper Greenwood Lake, New Jersey. In his basement laboratory, he continued to perfect his invention.

Around 1970, pollution and oil shortage became a problem, the time was finally right. He secured a U.S. patent and a few years later, he received patents from Germany, Brazil and Japan.

In February of 1974, Pacheco demonstrated his pollution free hydrogen fuel cell to Congressman Robert Roe. With no outside power source, the self taught chemical engineer connected the fuel cell to a Homelite alternator unit with a 3 horse power 1000 watt generator with a 4 stroke engine.

On July 17th, 1974 a 26 foot power boat ran for nine hours using the Pacheco generator and seawater for fuel.

In September of 1973, Francisco had his invention analyzed by independent experts. The Pacheco generator passed all tests at the New Jersey Gollob Analytical Service Corporation Labs.

In 1979, Nan Waters, a consulting chemist with the Aesop Institute analyzed the generator and wrote: "Basically, he has combined in one device three very simple chemical principles; a) The use of active metals to produce hydrogen from water, b) The differing electrical potential of two metals to produce an electrical current, c) The use of electrical current to produce hydrogen from water by electrolysis. All the ideas are well known; they simply havn´t been put together this way before. It is so simple as to be elegant."

Francisco tried to interest the automobile industry. He contacted energy companies and one such company, Consolidated Edison, sent a research chemist to see the generator in action. The chemist was enthusiastic but his company had no interest. He sent details of his invention to all the major oil companies. A representative told him, "We are in the oil business. Your invention, if we were to develop it, would be against our interests." Francisco contacted Geraldo Rivera, who he had meet after his power boat demonstration. Mr. Rivera was excited about the invention and promised to help, but apparently the TV station nixed the idea of doing a show.

In 1977, Mr. Pacheco adapted his generator to provide a complete energy system for his neighbor´s new home. A demonstration of the home generator was witnessed by the New Jersey Commissioner of Energy and staff, but again nothing happened.

In 1979, for 5 consecutive days, the generator was demonstrated for the public generating on demand hydrogen, electric and thermal energy as its output at the International Inventors Exposition. He received at this time, a plaque and award presented by a Commissioner of the Patent Department. At the Massachusetts headquarters of the Inventor´s Club of America, he received 2 consecutive Hall of Fame Awards for 1978 and 1979.

In 1980 the CBS program 60 Minutes contacted Francisco and told him they wanted to do an entire show on his invention. The demonstration included showing a hydrogen fueled burner, running an electric motor, blowing up a balloon with the gas, cutting a number 2 from a ¾ thick steel plate with a torch and running a 3hp lawnmower engine. When the show aired the only part of the demonstration that was shown was the failure of the lawnmower to work.

In 1986, he wrote to the Department of Energy about his generator. He received a form letter in response from an "Information Specialist" which included brief information describing the virtues and drawbacks of hydrogen as fuel. Francisco wrote back to the DoE, addressing each of their points with technical data on his system, showing them that the system he developed would overcome the obstacles they described. His detailed response was ignored.

June 1989, Pacheco's story was presented to the United Nations Environmental Forum in a speech given by the author Karin Westdyk. Francisco was invited to demonstrate his generator at the Green Energy Conference in Canada,

In 1990 he was invited to participate in the International Hydrogen Energy Conference in Hawaii. 

In 1994 A chapter was devoted to the Pacheco Generator in Suppressed Energy Inventions, published by the Aukland Institute of Technology.

In 1996, his story is included in The Coming Energy Revolution, by Jeane Manning.

His grandson Edmundo Pacheco still holds the patent rights.[1]

Hydrogen generator

A hydrogen generator constituted by a voltaic cell having a reactive magnesium electrode and a non- reactive electrode immersed in a salt-water electrolytic bath, a load being connected between the electrodes to cause a current flow in the cell resulting in an electrochemical reaction in which the magnesium is decomposed to produce hydrogen and in electrolysis in which the water is decomposed to produce hydrogen. In order to minimize polarization and other factors which diminish the production of hydrogen, the solution is circulated through an external flow loop having a pump interposed therein to draw the electrolyte from the bottom of the bath and to return it to the top thereof, the pump being powered by voltage derived from the cell.
Referenced by
Vehicular propulsion system- Gordon R. Stone
Electrolytic cell for producing alkali metal hypochlorites - Nobutaka Goto, Michiru Naito
Control system for hydrogen generators - Otto J. Adlhart
Bi-polar auto electrolytic hydrogen generator - Francisco Pacheco
Method for renewing fuel cells using magnesium anodes  - Stuart Rosner
Hydrogen generation system - Debabrata Ghosh, Asoke Chandra Das Chaklader, Zhaolin Tang, Zhong Xie

Bi-polar auto electrolytic hydrogen generator

An autoelectrolytic hydrogen generator system constituted by one or a plurality of similar cells wherein a galvanic arrangement of magnesium and aluminum plates of sacrificial elements as anode; stainless steel as cathode and sea water as electrolyte, by its very nature is made to develop a voltage when connected in short circuit causing a current to flow within the system and hydrogen production of hydrogen in situ and on demand by the electrolytic action at one pole, the cathode, and additional hydrogen by the electrochemical reaction at the other pole, the anode. Surplus electric energy of the system applied to a optional electrolyzer will also be made to produce additional hydrogen at its two sacrificial aluminum electrodes.
Galvanic hydrogen producer - Morris Fidelman
Hydrogen generator - Francisco Pacheco
Sandwiched structure for production of heat and hydrogen gas - Stanley A. Black, James F. - US Navy
Self-energizing water treatment accessory Michael H. Mack


  1. The Messenger - June 1989
    The Pacheco Generator Story