Due to their unique properties, together with their ease of synthesis and functionalization, graphene-based materials have been showing great potential in energy storage and conversion. These hybrid structures display excellent material characteristics, including high carrier mobility, faster recombination rate and long-time stability. In this review, after a short introduction to graphene and its derivatives, we summarize the recent advances in the synthesis and applications of graphene and its derivatives in the fields of energy storage (lithium ion, lithium-air, lithium-sulphur batteries and supercapacitors) and conversion (oxygen reduction reaction for fuel cells). This article further highlights the working principles and problems hindering the practical applications of graphene-based materials in lithium batteries, supercapacitors and fuel cells. Future research trends towards new methodologies to the design and the synthesis of graphene-based nanocomposite with unique architectures for electrochemical energy storage and conversion are also proposed. The Royal Society of Chemistry.