Abstract The nano-variants of carbon including graphitic nanofibres (GNF) have recently been considered to be exotic (light weight, high storage capacity) hydrogen storage materials. In the present paper, we report growth of aligned bundles of GNF. The length and width of cross-section of the bundles is ∼50 and ∼25 μm, respectively. The length of individual GNF is ∼50 μm and diameter ∼0.25 μm. The GNFs have been synthesized through thermal decomposition of acetylene using palladium (Pd) sheets as catalyst. This represents a new form of catalyst. The GNFs bundles grown by the present method are easier to hydrogenate. They adsorb hydrogen at a lower pressure of ∼80 atm as against ∼120 atm for the GNF grown in the earlier studies. The storage capacity obtained in the present investigation is ∼17 wt.%. Electron microscopic investigations reveal that as against the as grown GNF, the hydrogenated version embodies microstructures exhibiting fragmentation of graphitic layer bundles. The reasons for the growth of GNF in the form of aligned bundles, the ease of hydrogenation and relevance of GNF fragmentation after hydrogenation have been outlined.