For many new green-tech ventures, Wal-Mart is the ideal customer, sitting on top of the economic food chain of environmentally friendly products.
Which "innovative ideas" Wal-Mart is seeking is instructive because it points to large corporate demand for clean-tech products.
Alternative battery technology for forklifts.
Closed-loop water processing.
Sustainable building materials.
Household hazardous waste.
Noticeably absent from the list are solar energy products and biofuels, two areas that have received most venture capital investment over the past two years.
Wal-Mart is investing in solar power at 22 stores in California and Hawaii. It is also developing energy-efficient stores, which Wal-Mart says use 25 percent less energy than its typical retail outlets.
The tool, called Cleantech Accelerator Project, will let entrepreneurs make submissions to Wal-Mart, which will be fielded by the Cleantech Group.
The goal is to identify between two and four solutions that can be used by Wal-Mart within the next two years.