An anaerobic inverse turbulent bed, in which the biogas only ensures fluidisation of floating carrier particles, was investigated for carbon removal kinetics and for biofilm growth and detachment. The range of operation of the reactor was kept within 5 and 30 kgCOD· m−3· d−1, with Hydraulic Retention Times between 0.28 and 1 day. The carbon removal efficiency remained between 70 and 85%. Biofilm size were rather low (between 5 and 30 μm) while biofilm density reached very high values (over 80 kgVS· m−3). The biofilm size and density varied with increasing carbon removal rates with opposite trends; as biofilm size increases, its density decreases. On the one hand, biomass activity within the reactor was kept at a high level, (between 0.23 and 0.75 kgTOC· kgVS· d−1, i.e. between 0.6 and 1.85 kgCOD·kgVS · d−1).This result indicates that high turbulence and shear may favour growth of thin, dense and active biofilms. It is thus an interesting tool for biomass control. On the other hand, volatile solid detachment increases quasi linearly with carbon removal rate and the total amount of solid in the reactor levels off at high OLR. This means that detachment could be a limit of the process at higher organic loading rates.

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