The use of polyethersulfone (PES), an excellent but highly hydrophobic thermoplastic, as a matrix material for ion-exchange membranes was investigated. To make PES ion-exchangeable, sulfonate groups were introduced to the polymer chains by sulfonation reaction with chlorosulfonic acid. The degree of sulfonation of sPES was estimated to be 21%. Preliminary experiments investigated the effect of polyethylene glycol (PEG) and Pluronic F127 as fillers to improve the hydrophilicity of the membranes. Moreover, a lab scale electrodialysis cell has been designed and set up to evaluate the performance of these novel membranes compared to the benchmark of commercial membranes. The results show promising properties of ion-exchange capacity, water uptake, conductivity and hydophilicity from blended membranes, comparable to commercial membranes, though the performance of the prepared membranes did not exceed the commercial one. Further characterization of the transport properties of ion-exchange membranes need to be investigated to be able to understand the effects of the fillers on the performance of the membranes in ED application. © 2008 SPIE.