This paper covers the results of a pilot-plant study on the Anaerobic Fluidized-Bed Reactor (AFBR) treatment of brewery wastes. The AFBR was operated over a wide range of organic and hydraulic loading rates for a study period of more than eight months. The reactor consisted of a clear PVC column with a diameter of 165 mm and 3 m in height. Sand having a median diameter of 0.5 mm was used as the medium. The AFBR was fed with wastewaters collected from a local brewery. A COD removal efficiency of greater than 75% was observed at an organic loading rate (OLR) of 8.9 kg COD/m3 of expended bed/day for 82 days from start-up. The OLR was increased to greater than 14 kg COD/m3.d and a COD to methane conversion of 87% was achieved. Effects of OLR and COD removal efficiency on gas flowrate and on gas composition as well as concentrations of suspended solids (SS) and volatile acids (VA) were investigated. It was observed that biomass distribution along the height of the AFBR was not uniform and a strong stratification of biomass exists between the upper and lower parts of the system. The ecological structure of biomass was examined by SEM and clumps of methanogenic bacteria were identified. The Monod kinetic parameters were determined using steady-state operating data and compared to similar results given in the literature for the same waste.

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