Carlos Barrera
Carlos A. Barrera, Ph.D., P.E.
Managing Engineer
Thermal Sciences
  • Menlo Park

Dr. Barrera’s background in chemical and nuclear engineering and more than 10 years of field experience provide the foundation for his reactive consulting work in the analysis and investigation of fires, explosions, product failures, process upsets, and safety incidents. Some of his particular areas of expertise are: chemical plant operation, reactive chemistry, semi-conductor fabrication, paper industry, and industrial safety. In the proactive area he works in the various elements of the Process Safety Management standard, including process hazard analysis (PHA), management of change (MOC), process safety information, as well as safety during construction of capital projects, and risk analysis.

Dr. Barrera has investigated fires in both commercial and residential settings, and has lead the investigation of incidents and process upsets in multiple production facilities, including: oil refineries, natural gas compression and regulation stations, food processing, semiconductor fabs and clean rooms, and copper mines. Recently he has focused in reactive chemistry incidents involving pyrophoric, shock sensitive and energetic materials, including phosphorus and silicon compounds used in the semi-conductor industry. Additionally, Dr. Barrera has lead multiple PHAs using techniques like HAZOP, LOPA, and What-If among others.

In recent years, Dr. Barrera has actively participated in the organization of international technical conferences in process safety, serving as chair and co-chair of sessions and delivering invited talks. Most recently he has been the founding co-chair of the AIChE’s Process Safety Management Mentoring Symposium aimed at new process safety professionals.

Prior to joining Exponent, Dr. Barrera was a Graduate Research Fellow at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in Livermore, CA, where he conducted research on radiation detection at the National Ignition Facility; in particular he worked on the development of neutron imaging for inertial confinement fusion experiments. Before joining Berkeley, he was a project engineer for The Dow Chemical Co. in Colombia, where he was in charge of design, planning, and execution of capital and improvement projects for three production units, as well as the contractor safety program. Also in Colombia, he conducted research in pollution control methods for the paper industry.

CREDENTIALS & PROFESSIONAL HONORS

  • Ph.D., Nuclear Engineering, University of California, Berkeley, 2007
  • M.S., Nuclear Engineering, University of California, Berkeley, 2004
  • B.S., Chemical Engineering, Universidad Pontificia Bolivariana Medellin, Colombia, 1998
  • Student-Employee Graduate Research Fellowship (SEGRF), Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, 2004–2007

    Distinguished Undergraduate Chemical Engineering Student Universidad Pontificia Bolivariana, 1996

LICENSES & CERTIFICATIONS

Licensed Chemical Engineer, California, #CH 6378

40-Hour Training, Process Hazard Analysis (PHA) for Team Leaders

Hazard Identification (HAZID) for the Process Industries

40-Hour Hazardous Waste Operations and Emergency Response training program in accordance with OSHA 29 CFR Part 1910.120

Fire Investigation 1A certification by the State of California Fire Marshal

LANGUAGES

  • Spanish

Publications

Barrera C, Kemal A. Root-causes and causal-factors: Effective incident investigation closure. Proceedings, 10th Global Congress on Process Safety, New Orleans, LA, March 30–April 2, 2014.

Barrera C. The lack of safety in the Latin American chemical and process industries: A cultural, managerial or personal problem. Proceedings, 5th CCPS Latin American Process Safety Conference and Expo, Cartagena, Colombia, August 12–14, 2013.

Barrera C, Morrison D, Ramirez J. The good, the bad, and the really ugly of consequence analysis. Proceedings, 5th CCPS Latin American Process Safety Conference and Expo, Cartagena, Colombia, August 12–14, 2013.

Barrera C, Morrison D, Carpenter A. Guidelines for implementing risk assessment practices in oil and gas pipelines, storage, and transportation: PHA and LOPA. Proceedings, 4th CCPS Latin American Process Safety Conference and Expo, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, July 3–5, 2012.

Barrera C, Anderson L. Process equipment selection and risky operation: The consequences of not of not asking: “what if?” Proceedings, 3rd CCPS Latin American Process Safety Conference and Expo, Buenos Aires, Argentina, August 8–10, 2011.

Barrera C, Hosseini K, Kemal A. Transient reservoir conditions and leak flow rate for a choked orifice: Basic Principles, Estimation and Applications. Proceedings, 7th Global Congress on Process Safety, Chicago, IL March 13–16, 2011. American Institute of Chemical Engineers ISBN 978-0-8169-1067-10.

Barrera C, Kemal A. Condensation induced water hammer: Principles and consequences. Proceedings, 6th Global Congress on Process Safety, San Antonio, TX March 21–25, 2010. American Institute of Chemical Engineers ISBN 978-0-8169-1064-9.

Barrera C. Experimental component characterization and Monte Carlos-based image formation and reconstruction for the neutron imaging system of the national ignition facility. Ph.D. Thesis, University of California at Berkeley, 2007.

Barrera C, Moran M, Morse E. Image reconstruction algorithms for inertial confinement fusion neutron imaging. Review of Scientific Instruments 2006 Oct; 77.

Moran M, Koch J, Landen O, Haan S, Barrera C, Morse E. Imploded capsule fuel temperature and density measurement by energy-dependent neutron imaging. Journal de Physique IV 2006; 133:925.

Moran M, Koch J, Haan S, Hatchett S, Barrera C, Morse E. Downscattered neutron imaging. Review of Scientific Instruments 2004; 75:3592.

Moran M, Koch J, Barrera C, Morse E. Neutron scintillators for downscattered neutron imaging. Inertial Fusion Sciences and Applications 2003, American Nuclear Society, pp. 888–891, La Grange Park, IL, 2004.

Barrera C. Characterization of scintillator materials for downscattered neutron imaging. M.S. Thesis, University Of California at Berkeley, 2004.

Barrera C, Zapata J. Reduction of COD in black liquors by acid treatment. B.S. Thesis, Universidad Pontificia Bolivariana, Medellin, 1998.

Presentations and Invited Talks

Barrera C, Kemal A. PHA facilitation and teamwork dynamics or why not all HAZOPs are created equal. Presentation at the 11th Global Congress on Process Safety, Austin, TX, April 26–30, 2015.

Barrera C, Kemal A. InP and phosphorous allotropes: Safety lessons from their processing and mishandling in semiconductor facilities. Presentation at the SESHA 36th Annual International High Technology ESH Symposium, Scottsdale, AZ, May 6–8, 2014.

Barrera C, Kemal A. The hidden risks of deposits, by-products, and residues on exhaust and waste streams. Poster at the 9th Global Congress on Process Safety, San Antonio, TX, April 28–May 1, 2013.

Barrera C, Ramirez J. Introduction to incident investigation and consequence modeling. Short course presented at AVES 2012 SegurShow, Caracas, Venezuela, October 22–24, 2012.

Barrera C, Morrison DR, Ogle RA. Using LOPA to establish SILs for power outage protection. Presentation at the AIChE 14th Annual Process Plant Safety Symposium, Houston, TX, April 1–5, 2012.

Barrera C, Moran M, Morse E. Performance modeling of the NIF neutron imaging system. 34th IEEE International Conference on Plasma Science, Albuquerque, NM, June 2007.

Barrera C, Moran M, Morse E. Image characterization study for ICF neutron imaging. 48th Annual Meeting of the APS DPP, Philadelphia, PA, October 2006.

Barrera C, Moran M, Morse E. Image reconstruction algorithms for ICF neutron imaging. 16th Topical Conference on High-Temperature Plasma Diagnostics, Williamsburg, VA, May 2006.

Moran M, Barrera C, Morse E. Model-based analysis of an ICF neutron imaging system. 47th Annual Meeting of the APS DPP, Denver, CO, October 2005.

Moran M, Koch J, Landen O, Haan S, Barrera C, Morse E. Imploded capsule fuel temperature and density measurement by energy-dependent neutron imaging. 4th International Conference on Inertial Fusion Sciences and Applications, Biarritz, France, September 2005.

Barrera C, Moran M, Morse E. Study of organic scintillators for neutron imaging. 32nd IEEE International Conference on Plasma Science, Monterrey, CA, June 2005.

Barrera C, Moran M, Morse E. Simulation and analysis of pinholes for neutron imaging. 46th Annual Meeting of the APS DPP, Savannah, GA, November 2004.

Barrera C, Moran M, Koch J, Haan S, Hatchett S, Morse E. Downscattered neutron imaging. 15th Topical Conference on High-Temperature Plasma Diagnostics, April 2004.

Barrera C, Moran M, Morse E. Characterization of neutron scintillators for downscattered neutron imaging. 45th Annual Meeting of the APS DPP, Albuquerque, NM, October 2003.

Professional Affiliations

American Institute of Chemical Engineers—AIChE (member)

Past Professional Affiliations/Positions

Chair of the Process Safety Management

Mentoring Forum, 10th AIChE Global Congress on Process Safety, New Orleans , Louisiana, 2014

Chair Technical Committee, 5th CCPS Latin American Conference on Process Safety, Cartagena, Colombia, 2013

Session Chair for Case Histories and Lessons Learned session, 5th CCPS Latin American Conference on Process Safety, Cartagena, Colombia, 2013

Co-chair of the Process Safety Management Mentoring Symposium, 9th AIChE Global Congress on Process Safety, San Antonio, Texas, 2013

Co-chair of the Process Safety Management Mentoring Symposium, 8th AIChE Global Congress on Process Safety, Houston, Texas, 2012

Co-chair Management of change session, 4th Latin American Conference on Process Safety, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, 2012

Co-chair Process Safety Management Systems session, 3rd CCPS Latin American Conference on Process Safety, Buenos Aires, Argentina, 2011

Co-chair Risk Assessment – Consequence Modeling and QRA session, 45th AIChE Loss Prevention Symposium, Chicago, 2011

Member of the American Nuclear Society—ANS

Member of the ASTM E10 “Nuclear Technology and Applications” committee

Member of the ASTM E58 “Forensic Engineering” committee

News & Events

CREDENTIALS & PROFESSIONAL HONORS

  • Ph.D., Nuclear Engineering, University of California, Berkeley, 2007
  • M.S., Nuclear Engineering, University of California, Berkeley, 2004
  • B.S., Chemical Engineering, Universidad Pontificia Bolivariana Medellin, Colombia, 1998
  • Student-Employee Graduate Research Fellowship (SEGRF), Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, 2004–2007

    Distinguished Undergraduate Chemical Engineering Student Universidad Pontificia Bolivariana, 1996

LICENSES & CERTIFICATIONS

Licensed Chemical Engineer, California, #CH 6378

40-Hour Training, Process Hazard Analysis (PHA) for Team Leaders

Hazard Identification (HAZID) for the Process Industries

40-Hour Hazardous Waste Operations and Emergency Response training program in accordance with OSHA 29 CFR Part 1910.120

Fire Investigation 1A certification by the State of California Fire Marshal

LANGUAGES

  • Spanish