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One dimensional nanotubes and two dimensional nanonetworks, such as graphene, are able to reach thermal conductivities that exceed those of conventional materials by orders of magnitude. Controlling the rate and direction of energy release from these materials may lead to more efficient chemical energy conversion processes and devices. Thermopower waves (TPWs) are self-propagating chemical reactions of a fuel along the length of a thermally and electrically conductive conduit. The reaction wave creates a corresponding voltage pulse of high specific power that can potentially be used as a portable power source with extremely high power density. Quantum confined materials such as carbon nanotubes and graphene that have anisotropy in the transport properties are ideal for supporting such waves. This technology can be used to create electromagnetic pulses for intermittent but high load operations (such as emission of a modulated RF signal), thermopower wave propagation, energy storage, and metal-free alternative power sources with energy density commensurate with commercial lithium ion battery but a much higher power density.