One of the greatest challenges for our society is providing powerful electrochemical energy conversion and storage devices. Rechargeable lithium-ion batteries and fuel cells are amongst the most promising candidates in terms of energy densities and power densities. Nanostructured materials are currently of interest for such devices because of their high surface area, novel size effects, significantly enhanced kinetics, and so on. This Progress Report describes some recent developments in nanostructured anode and cathode materials for lithium-ion batteries, addressing the benefits of nanometer-size effects, the disadvantages of ‘nano’, and strategies to solve these issues such as nano/micro hierarchical structures and surface coatings, as well as developments in the discovery of nanostructured Pt-based electrocatalysts for direct methanol fuel cells (DMFCs). Approaches to lowering the cost of Pt catalysts include the use of i) novel nanostructures of Pt, ii)new cost-effective synthesis routes, iii) binary or multiple catalysts, and iv) new catalyst supports.
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