Abstract This paper reviews some important aspects of performance of several large-scale multistage flash (MSF) seawater desalination plants, based on the operational experience over the past quarter-century in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. It discusses certain factors which influence plant performance, availability and economy in the light of the methods of current practice based on the observations made, the analysis carried out and the insight gained over the long period of operational experience. Arising out of this discussion are some sggestions for future research, design and development of MSF plants with the long-term objective of rendering them robust, reliable, economical, and intelligently automated for plant wide measurement, monitoring, assessment, optimization, control, diagnosis and care.

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