This invention uses the mechanical deformation of nanotubes or highly ordered assemblies of molecules as a means of storing energy. The deformation includes stretching, bending and twisting. The storage of macroscopically significant amounts of energy may be achieved by assembling a large number of nanotubes and deforming them in parallel. In one example, the assembly of nanotubes is stressed by screws at both ends while attached to a mechanical cam. To store energy, the cam is driven to rotate by connected piezoelectric blocks; and the reverse process releases the stored energy. The nanotubes can be made of carbon, boron, or nitrogen. The energy stored in such “super-springs” can be recovered for subsequent use either in the form of mechanical energy or in the form of electricity.