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UPDATE 1-Germany looking at green hydrogen co-operation with Russia - minister

* Ministers study joint green hydrogen production, transport

* Nord Stream 2 pipeline could be repurposed for hydrogen

* Russia looking at green future planned by key customer (Adds details from conference)

FRANKFURT, Feb 16 (Reuters) - Germany is in close communication with Russia about the potential of “green” hydrogen production and transport, Economy Minister Peter Altmaier said at a Russian-German conference.

Altmaier said in the webcast that Russia could work with Germany in the production and transport of green hydrogen that Germany hopes to develop on a large scale by sending renewable power from wind and sunshine through electrolysis to make synthetic fuel for the industry, energy and transport sectors.

“We offer Russia a deeper cooperation,” he said.

Russian industry minister Denis Manturov said that Russia was prepared to prioritise investments in these technologies.

“I am convinced that this intention will be of interest to German and Russian companies active in that sector,” he said.

Germany industry consumes around 55 terawatt hours (TWh) of “grey” hydrogen made from fossil fuels each year, while all its industries, including home heating, use up to 1,000 TWh of natural gas, where Russia is Germany’s single biggest supplier.

Germany aims for carbon neutrality by 2050 under climate goals but sees natural gas as a bridging technology, as it exits nuclear and coal power.

Gas will help fuel power stations, industry and transport until renewables and synthetic hydrogen can successively supply the bulk of electricity, as well as replacing fossil raw materials, speakers said.

They expect the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, that will bring Russian gas directly to Germany and is nearly complete, to provide a future hydrogen import route while Russia develops renewable power for electrolysis, or methane pyrolosis, to produce hydrogen.

“Russia can offer giant land potential as a basis to build up solar and wind power, and huge water resources for hydro power,” said Stephan Weil, prime minister of Lower Saxony state.

Alexander Drozdenko, governor of the Leningrad region where NS 2 and its prerunner, the NS 1 pipeline, start, said that hydro and wind power plants and tax advantages were planned to stimulate hydrogen initiatives.

Russia has to think beyond coal, oil and gas, he said. (Reporting by Vera Eckert; editing by Thomas Seythal and Nick Zieminski)

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