Extreme flash evaporation occurs when superheated liquid is sprayed into a low pressure zone. This method has high potential to improve the performance of thermally-driven desalination plants. To enable a more in-depth understanding on flash evaporation of a superheated feed water spray, a theoretical model has been developed with key considerations given to droplet motion and droplet size distribution. The model has been validated against 14 experimental data sets from literature sources to within 12% discrepancy. This model is capable of accurately predicting the water productivity and thermal efficiency of existing spray evaporator under specific operating conditions. Employing this model, the effect of several design parameters on system performance was investigated. Key results revealed that smaller droplet enabled faster evaporation process while higher initial droplet velocity promoted water productivity. Thermal utilization marginally changes with the degree of superheat, which renders a quick design calculation of the brine temperature without the need for iterations. © 2016 Elsevier B.V.