Sulfonated poly(ether sulfone) copolymers (PESs) are synthesized using hydroquinone 2-potassium sulfonate (HPS) with other monomers (bisphenol A and 4-fluorophenyl sulfone). A series of PESs with different mol% of hydrophilic group is prepared by changing the mole ratio of HPS in the polymerization reaction. The chemical structure and thermal stability of the polymers are characterized by using H-1 NMR, FT-IR and TGA techniques. The PES 60 membrane, which has 60 mol% of HPS unit in the polymer backbone, has a proton conductivity of 0.091 S cm(-1) and good insolubility in boiling water. The TGA showed that PES 60 is stable up to 272 degrees C with a char yield of about 29% at 900 degrees C under a nitrogen atmosphere. To investigate single-cell performance, a catalyst-coated PES 60 membrane is used together with hydrogen and oxygen as the fuel and the oxidant, respectively. Cell performance is enhanced by increasing the temperature. A current density of 1400 mA cm(-2) at 0.60 V is obtained at 70 degrees C.