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Nanomaterials have attracted great interest in recent years because of the unusual mechanical, electrical, electronic, optical, magnetic and surface properties. The high surface/volume ratio of these materials has significant implications with respect to energy storage. Both the high surface area and the opportunity for nanomaterial consolidation are key attributes of this new class of materials for hydrogen storage devices. Nanostructured systems including carbon nanotubes, nano-magnesium based hydrides, complex hydride/carbon nanocomposites, boron nitride nanotubes, nanotubes, alanates, polymer nanocomposites, and metal organic frameworks are considered to be potential candidates for storing large quantities of hydrogen. Recent investigations have shown that nanoscale materials may offer advantages if certain physical and chemical effects related to the nanoscale can be used efficiently. The present review focuses the application of nanostructured materials for storing atomic or molecular hydrogen. The synergistic effects of nanocrystalinity and nanocatalyst doping on the metal or complex hydrides for improving the thermodynamics and hydrogen reaction kinetics are discussed. In addition, various carbonaceous nanomaterials and novel sorbent systems (e.g. carbon nanotubes, fullerenes, nanofibers, polyaniline nanospheres and metal organic frameworks etc.) and their hydrogen storage characteristics are outlined.

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Journal of Nanomaterials, v. 2008, art. 950967