This paper presents the results of the operation of a down-flow anaerobic fluidized bed treating red wine distillery wastewater during 1.5 years (laboratory scale). The carrier employed was ground perlite, an expanded volcanic rock (density 213 kg m−1, diameter 0.968 mm). After a 2 months start-up period, organic loading rate (OLR) was increased stepwise by reducing hydraulic retention time (HRT). The system attained carbon removal efficiency rates between 75 and 95%, at a OLR of 17 kg TOC m−3 d−1 (total organic carbon), at an HRT of 0.35 days. The results observed showed that the inverse fluidized bed can be an interesting option for anaerobic wastewater treatment.

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