The first MSF plant was sold in Saudi Arabia, and Robert Silver worked tirelessly to bring it on line. That plant established the commercial viability of the MSF process and its design was duplicated in many places. Without the MSF process, many arid countries in the Middle East would have no water supply.

Lord Weir 1997

"He gained international stature and recognition from his role as the father of the modern desalination industry on which millions of people in arid countries depend today."

Multistage flash distillation represented an improvement over existing units in thermal efficiency of about two-and-a-half times and 15 times larger in capacity. It also made practical the design of very large plants, upwards of millions of gallons per day of freshwater production.

A one-million-gallon-per-day plant, based on the same principle, was built in San Diego as a demonstration plant by the US Office of Saline Water, in the early 1950s.