Over the last several years, a significant share of the scientific community has focused its attention on the hydrogen storage problem. Since 1997, when carbon nanotubes appeared to be a promising storage material, many theoretical and experimental groups have investigated the hydrogen storage capacity of these carbon nanostructures. These efforts were not always successful and consequently, the results obtained were often controversial. In the current review we attempt to summarize some the highlights of the work on hydrogen storage in various types of nanotube and nanostructure, in a critical way. The nature of the interaction between hydrogen and the host nanomaterials, as revealed through theoretical modeling, helps us understand the basic mechanisms of hydrogen storage. Analysis of the results reveals why high hydrogen storage capacity at ambient conditions, which meets the DOE targets, cannot occur in bare carbon nanotubes. Through our analysis we also propose guidelines to enhance the hydrogen storage capacity of already synthesized materials and recommend advanced materials for this application.

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DOI: 10.1016/S1369-7021(11)70162-6